When Wick’s Pizza closed the doors of their New Albany location, which had been a hotspot for IU Southeast students to hang out, it looked like locals were losing a piece of history. From Harvest Homecoming to the annual Wick’s Battle of the Bands competition, there were certainly some fond memories in the historic building sitting on 225 State Street.
So when Parlour Pizza moved in to fill the void, opening its doors on December 14, 2020, it had big shoes to fill.
Pizza So Good It Might Make You Cry
The pizza at Parlour is something you don’t often encounter in the current rash of trendy pizzerias across the Kentuckiana area. Though there are certainly some odd pies on the list, like the triple cheeseburger special they ran through April, the pizza, on the whole, is less crowded than similarly priced restaurants, with a sort of old-school feel to the placement of toppings and the prominence of garlic butter and parmesan baked into the crust.
It reminds you of a simpler time when a plain pepperoni pizza was special and not so overshadowed by wacky California Pizza Kitchen-style creations. As I dug into my second meal at a Parlour location, the first being in Jeffersonville, my dining partner actually teared up upon their first bite of pizza, telling me it reminded them of a childhood pizza location over a thousand miles away.
While I might not have cried, I definitely felt for their nostalgia. The simple yet filling crust, the more traditional savory marinara, and the blending of gooey cheese with high-quality baked pepperoni had me nearly wishing I’d gone for one of the more simple choices on the menu.
Don’t let that dissuade you from ordering something a bit more out there, as the calzones and even the more unorthodox signature pizzas are still done extremely well. A friend once said, “you should judge a pizza place by the quality of their pepperoni pizza,” and while I might not always agree, I think that rule more than works in Parlour’s favor.
Raising the Bar
For those of legal age, Parlour doesn’t just serve nostalgic pizza. For an adult beverage to go with appeasing your inner child, you can’t go wrong with much of the drink menu. Their bartenders and waitstaff are more than accommodating for those who want to customize a bit or have dietary preferences. The service quality alone can’t be overstated, especially when even some higher-end bars tend to sneer at substitutions.
For those with a sweet tooth and a willingness to drink woody spirits, the Save the Bee’s Knees is a deliciously sweet ginger forward cocktail that will have even those completely opposed to gin asking for seconds. The velvety froth of eggwhite on top coupled with the sweet and smooth taste serves to make this a perfect summer sipping drink. If you’re still not sure you want to go with a gin drink, there’s always the Berry Bramble Mule, which takes a Moscow Mule and adds a hearty dose of blackberry puree to punch up the tart and sweet to higher levels.
If you prefer neat pours or cracking open a cold beer with your pizza, Parlour has you covered as well, with a good selection of both hard alcohols and various lower ABV options. With local craft beers, a passable bourbon selection, and even some cider on order, there are options for everyone who wants a less complicated drink to go with their less complicated pizza.
Old Bones, New Life
If you’ve ever found yourself at the old Wick’s building near the intersection of Main and State, you know the towering brick facade gives a feeling of quaint, old-fashioned curb appeal to the area while being extremely visible. Keeping the vertical sign aesthetic and semi-restored hardwood feel of Wick’s, Parlour feels a bit like coming home for those who spent the last 12 years frequenting the building. In a way, not much has changed.
What has changed is the atmosphere. In the last few years of its tenure, Wick’s felt like it was on its last legs, with fewer people in the building and a sometimes skeletal staff. With Parlour, the feeling is night and day. The staff is bright and friendly, the lighting seems brighter, and the sound system no longer feels inappropriately loud for the hour during lunch or late dinner. In a word, the building feels revitalized. Even during COVID-19, the tenor of New Albany’s Parlour location is uplifting, especially for those with fond memories of the building.
Final Verdict: Parlour has charm, an understated menu with over-the-top taste, and a familiar setting for New Albany natives. Highly recommended.
Food suggestions: Pepperoni Pizza, Garlic Cheese Sticks, Calzone
Drink Suggestions: Berry Bramble Mule, Save the Bee’s Knees