The latest project from the Eighty Six’d Bar & Restaurant Group, Parma joins downtown favorite Bovine & Barley and Midtown sushi staple The Fish in the company’s portfolio. Owner Michael Collins tells CultureMap that he wants to balance appealing to Barry’s regulars during the day with a new, late-night vibe that fits in with Richmond Avenue hot spots like Prospect Park and Sam’s Boat.
“In order to make this place work and pay the rent on a high volume corner like this, we have to have three things: lunch, happy hour, and late night,” Collins says. “That’s the only way we’ll be able to succeed here.”
To create the right atmosphere, the space has received a comprehensive makeover that includes an expanded patio — complete with a DJ booth — new lighting fixtures, new booths, and an Instagram-friendly neon sign at the entrance. A basketball hoop and a bell are about all that remain from the Barry’s days.
Collins had some success at Wholesome Pies in far northeast Houston (now under new ownership as Lupo Pizzeria), but he’s swapped that restaurant’s Neapolitan-style wood-fired pies for more familiar New York and Detroit styles. Pizza fans will find a wide array of popular combinations ranging from basics like pepperoni and cheese to Buffalo chicken, the Mr. Green Jeans (collard greens, ham, mozzarella, parmesan, honey), and a Frito Pie topped with beef chili, onions, and Fritos.
A former Barry’s cook has stayed on to help execute the menu. Collins notes that he invested in proper Detroit-style steel pizza pans to give the deep dish pies the necessary crispy edge.
Shareable appetizers such as tempura fried shrimp with sweet mayo, Asian-style sticky ribs, and The Fish’s signature blue crab fried rice have all been added to the menu. Cocktails, frozens, and craft beer offer plenty of pairing options.
The restaurant also offers Viet-Cajun crawfish for $3 per pound (5-pound minimum; sausage, corn, and potatoes available for an additional cost). No, that price isn’t a typo. Collins is serious about luring new customers to give Parma a chance.
Lunch specials include a slice of New York or Detroit-style and salad ($10), meatball sandwich with fries ($12), and the Business Man’s Lunch — a slice of pepperoni pizza and a shot of Jameson for $6.
Parma shifts to 21-plus after 8 pm. The red-and-white checkered tablecloths come off and the music gets turned up. Bottle service becomes available. The restaurant stays open until midnight during the week (closed Monday) and 2 am on Friday and Saturday night.
Admittedly, that sort of environment isn’t for everyone, but people can always get their pizza to-go. On the plus side, the response has been pretty positive so far.
“We’re giving what the neighborhood desires,” Collins says.