There’s a new food experience in town, a space that can transform into all things for all people. So perfectly pitched for these Covid times, Parlour can practice the perfect pivot in a matter of hours, transforming from casse-croute to curated indoor market, live music venue to private event space.
Parlour is the creation of Erin Clatney, owner of Dish Catering and a veteran of the food industry in Ottawa. It opened in the heard of Wellington West in July, in a space most recently occupied by Ottawa Bagelshop and Deli. Slated to open in early spring, Parlour’s debut was delayed by planning snafus and the pandemic. Clatney has spent months restoring the 1922 building, which has also been a funeral home, a church, a brothel, and a Lebanese community centre at different points in time.
Clatney poured plenty of labour and lots of love into the building to return it to former glory, and in the process she found some traces of history, including an original stained-glass window. “And when stripping the stairs to the washrooms, we fell in love with the patina of many coats of paint, so we’ve kept them for character.”
She named it Parlour for many reasons: “I wanted to allude to the history of this building as a funeral parlor,” she says, “but also for the name to suggest a gathering place. The room where people used to come together to entertain in a home was the parlour, a space for community, music, and celebration.”
Currently, Parlour offers all of the above. Operating as a casual, but gourmet, casse-croute during the weekdays and evenings, customers order their food and wine and pay for it street-side for take-away, or before heading down the side of the building on Grange road to an enchanted hide-away patio lit by vintage string lights, with plenty of space under the acacia trees. On a recent summer’s evening, fried green tomato and burrata salad, gazpacho, crispy cod and fried chicken sandwiches were on the menu, among other casual summer offerings.
A giant mural, commissioned by Clatney and inspired by Angela Davis, American political activist, philosopher, academic, feminist and author, and painted by by drippin_soul creations, aka Kalkidan Assefa, adorns one wall of the patio. On recent Friday and Saturday nights, neighbouring restaurant Supply and Demand has been setting up a raw fish bar offering oysters and tuna crudo on the patio, as well as a DJ spinning tunes.
Clatney believes that flexibility will be the key to Parlour’s success. She plans to host a curated indoor market, supporting up-and-coming food entrepreneurs and those with a keen design sensibility. “We will take a look at the neighbourhood and fill any gaps with small entrepreneurs with the aim to build community. We also intend to host special events, product launches, live music and meetings.”
“I’ve been doing this for many years now as a caterer, from behind the scenes,” says Clatney. “Basically, I’ve created a different restaurant a thousand times, each one unique down to the tiniest detail for clients. Now at Parlour, this is an opportunity for me to lead this from out front.”
Parlour, 1319 Wellington Street W., parlourxdish.ca