Nostalgic pizza meets distinctive aptitude in Downtown New Albany – The Horizon
Parlor Pizza serves rustic and filling dishes in a signature location, combining artisanal food with trendy presentation
When Wick’s Pizza closed the doors of their New Albany location, which was a hotspot for IU Southeast students, it looked like the locals were losing a piece of history. From Harvest Homecoming to the annual Wick’s Battle of the Bands competition, there were sure to be some fond memories of the historic building at 225 State Street.
When Parlor Pizza moved in to fill the void and opened its doors on December 14, 2020, it had to fill huge footsteps.
Pizza so good you can cry
Pizza at Parlor is something that is not often found in the current deluge of trendy pizzerias in the Kentuckiana area. While there are certainly some weird cakes on the list, like the triple cheeseburger special that went on sale in April, the pizza is by and large less crowded than restaurants of similar prices, with a kind of old-school feel to the placement the toppings and the prominence of garlic butter and parmesan cheese that are baked into the crust.
With sparingly and strategically placed toppings, the classic pepperoni pizza in the Parlor in New Albany gets an old-school twist. (Garland Noel)
It will remind you of a simpler time when a simple pepperoni pizza was special and not so overshadowed by crazy California Pizza Kitchen-style creations. When I ate my second meal at a parlor, the first in Jeffersonville, my dining partner actually burst into tears at the first bite of pizza and told me it reminded her of a childhood pizza that was over a thousand miles away .
Although I might not have cried, I definitely felt like her nostalgia. The simple but filling crust, the more traditional hearty marinara, and the mix of sticky cheese with high quality baked hot peppers almost made me wish I had gone for one of the simpler options on the menu.
Don’t let that stop you from ordering a little more as the calzones and even the more unorthodox signature pizzas are still made very well. A friend once said, “You should judge a pizza place by the quality of their pepperoni pizza,” and while I don’t always agree, I think this rule works more than just for the salon.
Raise the bar
For adults, Parlor doesn’t just serve nostalgic pizza. For an adult drink that appeases your inner child, you can’t go wrong with lots of drinks. Their bartenders and waiters are more than accommodating to those looking to adjust or have dietary habits. The quality of service alone cannot be overstated, especially when even some higher quality bars tend to scoff at substitutions.
Save the Bee’s Knees, a gin-based drink served as one of many specialty cocktails at Parlor in New Albany. (Garland Noel)
For those with a sweet tooth and woody spirits, the Save the Bee’s Knees is a deliciously sweet ginger cocktail that will even ask gin opponents for seconds. The velvety protein foam paired with the sweet and soft taste makes this a perfect summer drink. If you’re still not sure whether to have a gin drink, there’s always the Berry Bramble Mule, which takes a Moscow Mule and adds a hearty dose of blackberry puree to take the tart and sweet note to a higher level .
If you prefer to pour it clean or whip up a cold beer with your pizza, Parlor is there for you too, with a good selection of hard alcohols and several lower alcohol options. With local craft beers, a decent bourbon selection, and even some cider to order, there are options for those who want a less complicated drink to go with their less complicated pizza.
Old bones, new life
If you’ve ever found yourself in the old Wick’s Building near the intersection of Main and State, you know that the towering brick facade gives the area a feel of quaint, old-fashioned curb, while being extremely visible. Retaining the aesthetic of the vertical signs and the semi-restored hardwood feel of Wick, Parlor feels a bit like coming home for those who have visited the building for the past 12 years. In a way, not much has changed.
What has changed is the atmosphere. In the last few years of his tenure, Wick’s felt like he was on his last legs, with fewer people in the building and a sometimes skeletal staff. With Parlor, the feeling is day and night. The staff is bright and friendly, the lighting is brighter, and the sound system no longer feels inappropriately loud for hours at lunch or late dinner. In a word, the building feels revitalized. Even during COVID-19, the tenor of New Albany’s Parlor location is uplifting, especially for those with fond memories of the building.
Final Verdict: Parlor has charm, a subtle menu with over-the-top taste, and a familiar setting for New Albany locals. Highly recommended.
Food suggestions: pepperoni pizza, garlic cheese sticks, calzones
Drink suggestions: Berry Bramble Mule, Save the Bee’s Knees