Parlor City Pub & Eatery Restaurant Spotlight
Article by Shannon McGraw
Photography by Justin Fox
Parlor City Pub & Eatery has been a long-time favorite hotspot in the corridor. Located in the heart of the NewBo district on the corner of Third Street and 12th Avenue, the family-friendly eatery is always alive with patrons. Large inviting windows let in plenty of light and the walls are adorned with local, vintage memorabilia that shows the history of the area and adds to the upbeat ambiance. I find the welcoming atmosphere is a great place to take potential clients for lunch, hook up with friends for a bite, or escape with my husband to have a few drinks and catch some live music, which is offered almost nightly.
Parlor City offers a delicious array of pub food; and an extensive selection of wines, specialty drinks and 56 different beers on tap. They are well-known for their beer selection and offer a flight of beers so customers can try more than one. A flight is four sample-sized glasses of your choice of craft beers, served on a wooden paddle. If you have any trouble deciding, their knowledgeable staff is happy to give suggestions.
The NewBo district has become a vibrant community over these last few years and Parlor City has grown with it. Expanding their kitchen a couple of years ago to easier “accommodate the usual 700 plates a night,” and adding an outdoor patio seating and bar area last year. The new patio, called the Pavilion, offers a cross between indoor and outdoor seating with an additional full bar, stone fireplace, and plenty of room to mingle.
As the summer breezes started rolling in, I couldn’t wait to stop in and enjoy the patio. I had my chance recently as a couple of friends and I had been out doing a bit of shopping in the area. Nothing is better then relaxing with a few friends and indulging in some great food and drinks, surrounded by the lively sounds of summer.
As always we started with Parlor City’s sampler and a flight to share. We always try something different in our flight and today’s line-up may have been the best yet. We chose the Ciderboys Peach County, Crimson Sunset Pomegranate, Funwerks Raspberry Provincial and the Surly xtra Citra. The Ciderboys Peach County is by far a favorite of mine. The sweet peach flavor is refreshing on these warm summer days. The Crimson Sunset Pomegranate is also delicious. Made with all natural ingredients, the fresh zest makes a great summer drink.
The Parlor City sampler consists of their yummy boneless buffalo wings, crisp seasoned potato skins topped with crumbled bacon and a four cheese blend, large hand-cut o-rings and large mozzarella sticks that are both coated in their house-made beer batter and then fried to a golden brown, and tangy fried pickle chips. Always a great start!
For my entrée I chose one of my favorites, the Buffalo Chicken Wrap. A large spinach tortilla stuffed with grilled, diced chicken smothered in mild buffalo sauce with a mix of lettuce, onion, tomatoes, green peppers and their four cheese blend. The mix of veggies cools down the spicy buffalo sauce to pack just the right punch.
One of my lunch companions opted for the Blackened Chicken Salad. Diced, Cajun seasoned grilled chicken on a bountiful bed of mix leaf lettuce, topped with crumbled bacon, tomato, onion, green peppers and their four cheese blend. I love the peppery, spice of Cajun seasoning and it really adds an aromatic bold flavor to the salad. All of their salads can also be made into a spinach or Chipotle tortilla wrap if you prefer.
I often have the tendency to sneak a bite of someone else’s entrée to make sure I haven’t missed out. Since Parlor City’s portions are so generous, it’s not difficult to get away with snagging a sample. And today I am so happy I did! My dearest friend is always going on about guacamole. She loves the stuff, in everything. I’m a little more skeptical. So of course she ordered Parlor City’s Guac Burger and offered me up a bite. First, the half pound Angus burger patty is perfectly grilled and topped with pepper jack cheese. Then the bottom of their gourmet bun gets a generous smear of their house-made spicy Chipotle aioli. Next the pepper jack burger patty is added and then topped with pepper Remoulade and their creamy guacamole. The combination of the juicy burger and the spicy Chipotle and Remoulade mixed with the cool, fresh flavor of the guacamole works perfectly together. I have been moved to the guacamole lovers’ side; at least on this burger. Served with a side of their delicious sweet potato fries and indulgent, candy marshmallow cream dip, to round out the meal.
As we sat on the patio with the warm breeze flowing thru, laughing together while enjoying our meals and drinks, all daily worries melted away. It was such an awesome day to take in and appreciate the little things. That is what Parlor City has to offer. The joyful sounds of patrons having a great time that makes you want to be a part of it and stay a little longer.
Parlor City Pub & Eatery
1125 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids
319.247.0000 – www.parlorcitypub.com
Open: Mon-Fri – 11am-2am, Sat & Sun – 8am-2am
Large group areas are available. Call for information.