Capitol Street in downtown Jackson is an integral part of the city’s long history. Once a bustling two-way street lined with department stores, small businesses, and restaurants of every description, the street has undergone numerous changes. Now a one-way street, it’s less busy than in olden days, although there’s still a lot to see and experience, including the crown jewel guarding the street, Mississippi's Old Capitol. Parlor Market occupies an 1898 building that once served as a grocery store by the same name. The store specialized in local produce and cured meats. Fast forward a century and it’s been reinvented as a charming restaurant that’s the perfect destination for lunch or dinner. It's an experience you won't soon forget.
Walk through the heavy glass door, and you’ll find original brick walls, luxurious marble and well-preserved wood features dating back to 1858. The ambiance alone is enough to draw in diners, but there’s so much more to Parlor Market. Creative chefs use locally-grown ingredients for a genuine farm-to-table experience. Everything that was good about downtown Jackson in the previous century has been melded together with modern food trends. The combination is a unique, relaxing dining experience.
Parlor Market’s prices are not unreasonable when considering the fresh ingredients and time and expertise invested into every meal. However, if you are on a budget, I suggest starting with lunch, which offers PM Blue Plates and lower prices on most entrees.
For lunch, starters include small bites like tomato crostini ($12), fried calamari ($12), and meatballs ($10). There is also a good selection of soups and salads, ranging on the low end from Caesar and house salads ($6-half/$11 for whole) to the mammoth black and blue ($16). It’s filled with sliced steak, arugula, French fries, blue cheese, chopped vegetables, and sherry vinaigrette.
If you’re a pasta-lover, try one of Parlor Market’s. There’s the Bolognese classic ($14), carbonara ($14), spaghetti and meatballs ($12.50), and roasted veggie scampi ($12.50).
For something a little heavier, select from among a number of “big plates” that include the PM burger ($14), burger Parmesan ($14), meatball sub ($12.50), crispy chicken panini ($14), grilled portabello panini ($12), or pan roasted redfish ($18).
Or, sample a PM blue plate ($11.50), served Monday through Friday. Options rotate and include smothered pork chop, meatloaf, buttermilk fried chicken, roast beef, barbecue ribs, and fried catfish. Each blue plate comes with a choice of two vegetables, sweet potato muffin, and tea.
If you dine after dark, expect the lights to be lower while ambiance, glamour, and food choices rise to an entirely different level.
For starters, small bites like cheesy polenta fritters ($11), beef carpaccio ($15), braised short rib gnocchi ($16), and wood grilled oysters ($14) are elegantly-prepared and presented.
Pastas are also taken to new heights with creations like duck confit and braised greens ($24), three cheese lobster ravioli ($25), lamb Bolognese ($22), pork ragout ($21), prosciutto and sweet pea campanelle ($20), and spaghetti and meatballs ($22).
The selection and preparation of big plates is also outstanding. Included are hangar steak with truffle fries ($27), blue cheese crusted filet ($39), redfish ($29), veal chop parmesan ($45), and gulf snapper $34).
Save room for dessert as you’ll want to try one of Parlor Market’s famous sweet concoctions. My favorite is a slice of olive oil cake ($10). Enhanced with elements of orange curd and whipping cream, it’s something everyone needs to sample. There’s also PM tiramisu ($10), chocolate hazelnut tart ($10), vanilla bean crème brulee ($9), and house made ice cream trio ($9).
Parlor Market is located 115 W. Capitol Street in Jackson. Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Dinner hours are from 5 p.m. until, Monday through Saturday. Call 601-360-0090 for more information.