A couple weeks ago, I profiled the East River Bar and its BYO-BBQ grills. Next up, Project Parlor, a bar in Bed-Stuy owned and run by fashion designer Megyn Florence. She recently launched the 1st Annual Project Parlor Summer BBQ Championship Series, where two chefs bring their own bbq and go head-to-head every Sunday in the back garden until Labor Day. At last weekend’s event, Chef Martha Sarfaty sold fish tacos slathered in avocado and mango slaw while Chef Davide Porcu served up a platter of homemade sausage, calamari, shrimp, orange fennel salad and grilled bread. Victory went to Porcu, who will move on to the next round of the tournament. I asked, “Why competition? Why not just say the grills are available to the public?” Florence responded, “We have a lot of restaurant industry and servers as patrons. We don’t have a kitchen. You can do one [food] event, but that’s the end of it. If you build a series, then it’s something people get excited about, building that competitive spirit. I want to make sure people put their A-game on.”
Project Parlor is hidden on Myrtle Avenue between Bedford and Nostrand streets. A brightly chalked A-frame outside drew me in shortly after the spot had opened back in October 2009. Florence’s number one priority is to offer a broad range of potent potables to accommodate an eclectic clientele. Project Parlor carries absinthe, homemade hibiscus punch, simple syrup and ginger beer; cans of Pabst are $2 which are “good for for the everyman” with free bar peanuts all night long. Donated furniture and various trips to Goodwill, flea markets and Build it Green architectural salvage in Astoria make for a relaxed tribute to old timey parlors of the 1920s. The name of the bar reflects the community effort behind its birth; it was a massive neighborhood “project” built by Florence and friends she had made in Bed-Stuy during her eight-year residency. Tired of the fashion industry and working nights as a bartender inspired Florence to open a bar, “This neighborhood needed a watering hole, so here we are.”
At the impressive age of 29, Florence adds, “Running a bar is really fun! It’s fraught with pitfalls of its own, it’s a good time at the end of the day. I would like to thank my boyfriend, who is the handiest man on Earth; Thank you Sergio!”
Look out every Sunday for competitors who may have cooked for Chef Jean George, Williamsburg’s Egg as well as Theo and Deb from Pearl-Lee-Q’s barbecue catering service. Yours truly will be competing in the BBQ Championship on June 13th. Mention Hoopla Hoop and I’ll knock a dollar off the price of my bbq platter!
Check out this video of Megyn making a bar favorite: chocolate orange old fashioned.
Project Parlor is located at 742 Myrtle Ave in Brooklyn, NY, 347-497-0550.