The genius team behind the beloved Cowan’s Public in Nutley, The Barrow House in Clifton, and Franklin Social in Jersey City is back with their newest addition to a growing empire of New Jersey cocktail bars and restaurants. Skopos Hospitality has been reinventing the wheel on food and beverage since 2015, and the newest member of the family is certainly none different.
The Parkside Social in Verona looks to the classic American taverns of the 17th and 18th centuries while using nearby Verona Park as inspiration to keep the establishment feeling local and alive. The interior features a beautifully decorated bar room, as well as a private dining room coined; The Oak Room. A secluded patio is nestled in the rear, perfect for dinner and drinks just in time for summer. For fans of brunch and music, jazz brunches are held every single Sunday at 12:00 PM. Located on Bloomfield Avenue, The Parkside Social is the latest addition to what is becoming a quaint, yet bustling main street in the small North Jersey town. The drinks, food, friendly staff, and generous happy hour are here to stay.
A new American menu is the outline— focusing on comfort classics while using modern techniques and ingredients bringing the diner into 2022. Take the oysters, for example. Locally sourced oysters from Barnegat Bay are accompanied by michelada cocktail sauce— a spicy and tangy sauce pulling a play out of the book of the classic Mexican beer cocktail.
The fondue sampler is ideal for sharing. Parkside serves a beer cheese fondue alongside homemade pretzel bites, kielbasa, and sliced pears. The pear especially brings a sweet and tart element to an appetizer that is otherwise rich and hearty.
The Parkside burger is the signature sandwich at The Parkside Tavern. Freshly ground beef is flame-grilled before being topped with velvety Havarti cheese. And while that alone is delicious enough, the burger is brought to the next level with braised pork belly, crisp fried onions, pickles, and the subtle star of the show, a charred leek aioli. This burger is seriously good, and the perfect pairing for any of their inventive cocktails, craft beers, or chic wines.
Like any Skopos spot, the cocktails are no joke.
The Electric Lagoon combines gin with blue curacao, orgeat (an almond syrup popular in tiki-style cocktails), and fresh lemon. The vibrant blue drink will catch your eye from across the dining room. The alluring hue is backed up by a plump, acidic flavor, making for an easy-drinking cocktail that is perfectly balanced between tart and sweet.
If tart and sweet isn’t your style, then The Parkside Old Fashioned might be more your speed. Bourbon, molasses and tiki bitters are married in this strong, yet balanced drink. This reimagined old fashioned is bound to please any fan of the classic cocktail.
Of course, wine and beer are anything but an afterthought. An expansive beer list features NJ brews as well as domestic and imported favorites. The wine menu covers it all— showing off light-drinking whites and roses, full-bodied reds, and even natural wines made with zero added sulfites.
The Parkside Social is just plain fun. The design and atmosphere are attractive, and the drinks and food are no different. Like any of Skopos’ various establishments, it’s the friendly and knowledgeable staff that keeps me coming back. As a native of the area (Cedar Grove, NJ), I can say with confidence that The Parkside Social is not only a welcomed addition to Verona’s bustling downtown but a venue the town was longing for. You do not want to miss this spot.
About the Author/s
Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for food journalism midway through his schooling and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. Peter never stops learning and he is always in the weeds.