Upper West Side Parm, an Italian-American “soul food” hotspot beloved by diners and critics alike, is slated to open on Columbus Avenue and 70th Street by the end of the summer. The original restaurant, helmed by Rich Torrisi, Jeff Zalaznick and Mario Carbone of the Major Food Group, opened in Little Italy in 2011 and quickly attracted attention for its casual but sophisticated menu, which focuses on small plates and huge, messy sandwiches such as—of course—chicken parmesan and sausage and peppers heroes. New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells awarded the restaurant two stars in 2012.
Though the restaurant group currently runs a Parm outpost at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the Upper West Side spot will be the trio’s second full-service location, occupying a whopping 2800 square feet that was previously Lanksy’s Deli. Such a move was not coincidental for Parm, whose owners note on the restaurant’s website that they “seek to find locations that are significant to the history of food in New York.”
“Location always plays into every decision we make,” said Zalaznick. “The Lansky’s space is a great one, one with a lot of New York character that will definitely have an effect on the style and direction of the restaurant.”
Zalaznick said that the restaurant team had been looking to make a move to the Upper West Side for some time, and seized the opportunity when the deli closed last February.
“We’ve always loved the neighborhood,” he said. “It has a strong sense of community and history.”
At the new location, diners can expect more of the red-sauce Italian-American fare that Parm is famous for, like tender, long-braised veal, beef and sausage meatballs piled on a seeded roll, baked clams and pizza knots. It’s this kind of food that has endeared the restaurant to both customers and critics—comforting and immediately recognizable to most New Yorkers.
Parm’s dishes are also prepared with the attention to detail that is a hallmark of Torrisi’s and Carbone’s time spent behind the stove at white-tablecloth restaurants such as Mario Batali’s Babbo and Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50.
“We work very hard, we are very passionate about what we do and we have a lot of fun doing it,” Zalaznick said of the team’s success. “I think that comes through in the places we create.”
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