0008 Parson’s Chicken & Fish

Art Direct / Build / Concept / Curate / Design

As with Longman, Parson’s Chicken & Fish has been another fully immersive project, one where we have attempted to transform a neglected corner on the Humboldt Park / Logan Square neighborhood divides into a bustling indoor / outdoor party spot.

On its face, Parson’s is a mere chicken and fish joint, one that conceptually references the sort fast ‘counter’ shacks so prevalent on Chicago’s West Side, and throughout the country on the whole. But with it, we hoped to show that building a menu around local, organic and sustainable ingredients could be done in an affordable, casual and fast atmosphere.

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We approached the drink program similarly, offering up honest, simple creations at reasonable price points, the breakout being a negroni slushy creation that has received national attention, brightened so many nights, and by turns ruined many a morning for thousands and thousands of folks. (Ourselves included!)

A full departure – in a number of ways – from our work on Longman & Eagle, Parson’s has an aesthetic and ethos all its own. Using a red and white tile pattern as inspiration, we developed a design platform that is bright, clean and fresh, encouraging and enhancing the hard partying outdoor vibe we’ve since achieved.

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“While the art of al fresco dining is at work, smart design has also contributed to Parson’s stature as a sure-to-be-swamped destination when the mercury goes north of 60.” – Dwell

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As we do, we collaborated with artists and friends where we could. Lettering and graphic artist Matthew Tapia did the identity work, Jon Martin worked with artist Stephen Eichhorn on the wood patterned bathroom door stalls, and artist Ryan Duggan decorated our El Camino. (So, yeah…we bought a 1977 El Camino for the project, for purposes…still…undefined.) Musically, we focused on a ‘chooglin’ soundtrack of early funk, gritty rock and doleful soul, further perpetuating an all party, all the time environment that hasn’t ceased since we’ve opened.

parsons-12photos: Clayton Hauck