Restaurant Feature: Parkside Italian Kitchen in Acworth
Bring an American-sized appetite to Parkside Italian Kitchen in Acworth. You’ll want plenty of room to try everything from appetizers to entrées to desserts. And if you don’t like Italian food, don’t worry: you can order American dishes like the Backyard Burger or even barbecued hot wings.
Restaurateur Chris Bearden suggests you start with one of their delicious appetizers. “You’ve got to try our stuffed mushrooms. They are really outrageously big, and we fill with them with sausage and spinach.” If you want something to please a crowd, try the cold antipasto platter. A combination of salami, prosciutto, ham, pepperoni, and capicola, it’s served on a bed of spring mix lettuce, with artichokes and roasted red peppers. Chris said, “It’s a great thing to get with a glass of wine. It’s a large dish, and once people see it, they are like, ‘oh, my gosh!’”
Chris constantly wants to surprise his customers, so he’s adding a couple of new appetizers, including skewered shrimp with Peppadew peppers and Cajun spices. He explains, “The Peppadew is a tiny red pepper, a little sweet but with a nice zip. The guys in the kitchen came up with this recipe; it was a collusion of people working on it, and it’s incredible. They are always thinking about the next innovative special.”
Chris is proud that Parkside Italian is constantly evolving and changing for its customers. “We always ask for feedback. One of our regular patrons, a minister of a local church, asked for some special dietary requirements. So we made a special dish called Pastor Pasta. We can make whatever you need.”
While the Pastor Pasta may be heaven for someone on a special diet, it’s hard to pass up some of the regular menu items like lasagna, pizza, and calzones. Traditional lasagna is made with seven layers of pasta with Ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses, ground beef, simmered pork and Italian sausage blended with the family recipe of tomato sauce. All of the sauces and doughs are made in-house.
“Fresh dough, sauce and cheese are what make pizza. We’ve got the right combination of all three. We have people who are from New York who tell us, ‘Wow, I haven’t had pizza this good since I left home!’”
Man cannot live by Italian food alone, so Parkside Italian offers a wide variety of popular American favorites, including chicken wings and hamburgers. “One of our specialties is the grilled barbecue wings. We fry them like we normally do, and then put them in the charbroil to caramelize.”
Parkside Italian Kitchen knocks it out of the park with its Backyard Burger: crispy bacon and cheddar cheese with red onions and topped with a family recipe barbecue sauce. Chris said, “Our grill really makes the difference. We like to try stuffed burgers occasionally as a special; we stuff them with Gorgonzola cheese.”
If you’ve ordered tomato on your burger, it’s going to be fresh. “Our produce is pretty special here, all the way from the salad bowls to the tomatoes. We never refrigerate our tomatoes; we get fresh ones everyday. If tomatoes are kept too cold, their flavor is killed.”
Try those fresh tomatoes on a steak salad made with a cut of steak called Petite Chateau (a beef tenderloin); it’s delicious with the mixed greens. It’s light enough that you can splurge on dessert. “Penny makes our fresh Italian cream cake. It’s really good,” said Chris.
Sit on the patio, order your food, and enjoy the breeze and distance sounds of cracking bats and cheering parents from the ballparks across the street. At Parkside Italian Kitchen, you have the choice of savoring some fine Italian dishes or going All-American.
Parkside Italian Kitchen is located at 3979 S. Main Street in Acworth, tel. 678-921-8122, www.ParksideItalianKitchen.com.