Parasson's Italian
 Barberton, Ohio        Date of Visit: 10/03/12       
No Known Website

Parassonís lives in my memory in both nostalgic and wicked ways. Back in my undergrad days there was one about a mile away from campus that we would frequent. There were things that made the place appealingÖall the free garlic bread you could stuff down your gullet and prices that allowed you to eat there more than once a semester. You didnít have to ask for more bread, it just arrived until you could take no more. There were also downsides. The quality of the ingredients were questionableÖit didnít matter to us then.



Memory - All Alone In The Moonlight. Ate Much Of This In College. It's Better Now.

There were reports of being shut down three times for recycling food. i.e. this person didnít finish this, letís put it on the next dinerís plate. We went anyways. That location is long goneÖlong gone but three still exist in the Akron area. The closest to us is in Barberton.

Also of concern, Stephís family used to go to the Barberton location pseudo regularly, I try to keep the old stories of food recycling to myself. We ate there recently and thought we would give it an official try, so here goes. The servers are typically young but actually do a nice job, a change from the old Canton shop. In addition the manager plays active rolls in checking in on diners (sat at table behind us for about five minutes) and helping the servers, doing things like picking up plates and glasses etc. instead of just saying how is everything. The Barberton location is also much brighter and cleaner than I remember in Canton. Exposed beams and lights give the place a sort of modern barn feeling. Add Italian themed stained glass windows and antique family photos and itís not a bad looking place.

Passable Wedding Soup

Standard Salad Service

Wee Personal Pizza

I Can't Explain Why It Seems So Much Better Than Their Large Pies, But It Do

We ordered a couple of sides and then realized our dinners came with sides. We ended up with a cup of soup, a side salad, a personal pizza (also comes with a side), penne with meatballs and chicken parmesan. Oh, yeah, they still bring garlic bread. Itís better quality bread than it used to be and they are more careful with it as well. Probably an improvement overall.

The salad has grown up some. Previously iceberg lettuce, croutons, cheese and dressing it now arrives with veggies. The cup of wedding soup was devoid of meatballs and was light on the greens but the broth was chicken and there was plenty of pasta. Not a bad cup but has trouble in comparison to others like Uptown Pizza.

The pizza arrived next. We had been here recently on a family trip down memory lane and the pizza was as I remembered it. Thin, smeared with a ridiculously sweet and featureless sauce and topped with cheese and whatever else you might have ordered. If you have had a Giant Eagle bake at home pizza, itís just south of there. Our little personal guy arrived with pepperoni but it was a different affair in some ways. Much thicker. Almost as though they use the same amount of dough and stretch it to whatever size the pizza is going to be. The thicker dough had a much yeastier bite which was an improvement. The same for the sauce, same size ladle? I donít know if the sauce was the same as a couple of weeks ago but there was a fierce oregano layer in addition to the sweetness. Much better, still not great. I would probably order my own little pizza every time I went.


Looked Okay...

...Until Closer Examination. Meatballs = What's Vegan On The Menu?

Also Looked Pretty Good. The Sausage Addition Actually Was

The Sysco Chicken Tenders, Sauce and Pasta Less So

The entrees were headed back towards the lowered expectations I had walking in the door. The penne was done pretty well but the sauce was drab and boring and coated three substandard meatballs. Gristly, and bready all at the same time. I wouldnít do them again. The chicken parm consists of three previously frozen and deep fried chicken fingers atop spaghetti and covered with cheese. Not wanting another salad or soup, I ordered sausage as a side. It was cut up and layered into the crock. The sausage was the best part of the dish, adding enough spice to make the same sauce from the penne taste alright. The chicken was what you would expect, as was the pasta. Parassonís has grown up a bit since my college days. They do still seems to be protecting their price point by using cheap ingredients, many of them pre-prepared as opposed to more homemade. I am more a fan of cheap and fresh with some extra time in the kitchen to make a difference. Not being as much a deal as it used to be doesnít help either. A trip now and then for reminiscence is the best Parassonís can hope for from me.




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