Parson's Chicken and Fish
Credit: Clayton Hauck

In this landscape of hyper esoteric menus, it’s refreshing to break bread—or ham-hock hush puppies—al fresco in the company of high flavor and low pretension. The Logan Square hot spot Parsons Chicken & Fish is a beacon for anyone with a penchant for honest food and drink that is fast, simple and cheap.

The patio (which becomes an ice skating rink during the winter) has cultivated a cult following for its $8 negroni slushies, buttermilk fried chicken, light-as-air fish fry, and crunchy cool sides that merge old school dishes with modern zip. Factor in the classic picnic table seating and a games area, and you’ve got a can’t-beat-it summer scene.

Just in time for the season and to accommodate the colorful crowds, the patio has been retrofit with more picnic tables and bleachers for the late night cocktail-swigging congregants. There’s a custom ping-pong table and, on Monday nights, you can opt for Bocce ball instead.

The kitchen added a smoker and sausage-making capabilities so it can turn out new plates like chorizo sausage with charred lime and queso fresco aioli, and smoked pork belly. In another homage to summer, they’ve unveiled a new icy cocktail: the Margarita Slushy (with Hacienda Vieja, Mandarine Napoleon, lime, and OJ). End the meal with an extra punch of sugar high with a slice of the day’s pie—made by Bang Bang pie, a fellow Logan Square eatery.

Looking for more of the best restaurants in Chicago? Read T+L’s Chicago Restaurant Guide.