Blink and you’ll miss it, but The Parlor in central Phoenix is worth seeking out.
It was just as busy when I went there this weekend as it was when I checked it out almost 3 years ago, with a half-hour wait for two at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night. If you do have to wait, the twinkly light-lit patio is a pretty place to hang out since it’s surrounded by a garden that provides ingredients for the restaurant, and the patio is also a romantic secluded area you should try to score a seat on if you can. The bar area is also cool, with close quarters (you might be at the same long table as another party) and a single television displaying whatever sports game is on.
The Parlor the restaurant is housed in a former beauty parlor, with evidence of a hair drying station placed in the women’s bathroom. Other than that, you’d never look at The Parlor as anything different than a cool eatery, ever-busy with hipster servers and high-quality food on seasonal menus.
Pizza is a specialty here (the owner’s family also owns Nello’s in Ahwatukee), and it’s really affordable and really tasty. If you’re planning on eating one yourself, definitely order an 8-incher–that’s more than enough food to keep you full. I built my own with goat cheese and mixed olives ($10), and I liked the thin, soft middle with the thick and crispy crust.
My companion ordered the veal raviolini ($13.50), which came with a ginger carrot puree and peas and baby carrots. He said the concept was surprising to him, but it worked. The pasta is all made in-house, and he really liked it.
The drinks at The Parlor are just as good as the food. The Jalisco Sunrise ($10) is a spicy concoction of roasted serrano infused Corzo tequila, pink grapefruit, cilantro and lime and is a great desert drink because of the spice–the grapefruit really balances it out well, though.
I also love the Cucumber Lemonade ($8), a refreshing mix of cucumber, lemon and Hendrick’s. It’s strong but doesn’t taste like it.
The Parlor is wonderful in so many ways–drinks, food and atmosphere. Just be prepared to valet your car, and arrive earlier than you’d like to sit down.