Winchester’s was named one of the five best new Boston restaurants in a recent Zagat survey.
“We’re really thrilled about it,” said restaurant owner Chris Parsons. “What I love about Zagat is it’s all customer feedback. It’s not like you cook for one reviewer. With Zagat, it’s actually customers.”
Parsons Table opened in March 2010, taking over the Church Street space formerly occupied by Catch, Parsons’ original restaurant. Catch will move to a location in Cambridge or Boston, though plans have not yet been finalized.
Because the Catch staff stayed on to create Parsons Table, the restaurant transition was a smooth one.
“It was a seasoned team right from the start. That really put us in a good position,” Parsons said of the restaurant’s high Zagat service score.
“Parsons Table’s approach is simple and rustic, the kind of approach you see in a French bistro,” said Parsons. “We try to get in really fresh, local foods, seasonal as much as possible, and try to treat the food with respect.”
The restaurant is only open for dinner, and the menu features seafood, steak and chicken alongside comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and house-made kettle chips. Parsons Table is faster-paced and more casual than Catch. It also does a higher volume at a lower price point. Parsons believes that makes it accessible to more people in the current economy.
“I noticed Catch was becoming more and more of an occasion restaurant,” Parsons said. “I wanted something that would be a community, where you might stop by every week. We wanted to create the ultimate community restaurant.”
That was Parsons’ original goal more than eight years ago, when he first set out to open a restaurant. He wanted to move to the town where his restaurant was located, to avoid a commute on top of the long hours restaurant work requires. At first, he imagined settling in a seaside town but, when he saw the Winchester location, he was immediately sold.
“We drove up to see it and loved the town. It was perfect. It just had a good feel,” Parsons said.
He has created that community with a regular customer base that moved with him from Catch to Parsons Table. “Now when I walk around the restaurant, they’re like our friends. I think that’s why people come back,” Parsons said.
"I just want to thank the community for supporting the restaurant,” he added. “You can set the table as much as you want, but the guests really make the restaurant.”