Parizade, a Mediterranean restaurant in Durham, hosts regular culturally-influenced wine nights. Each night’s theme includes a region or country and the restaurant pivots on all fronts to pull the evening off. Croatia will be the next nation to have its wine, food and culture featured.
Parizade was founded almost thirty years ago by Giorgios Bakatsias, a restauranteur acclaimed internationally and in the Triangle. His restaurant group also owns City Kitchen and Kipos in Chapel Hill. It’s led by Executive Chef Jason Lawless and general manager Igor Macina. Macina himself is from Croatia, along with several of Parizade’s other staff.
“Every Thursday or Wednesday of the month we have a wine dinner, different countries,” Macina said. “So many times already Spain, France, Greece and South Africa – this or that. So, this time we like to have a time to have a Croatian wine dinner because we have a Croatian wine on the menu.”
Macina said that Parizade put Durham on the foodie map.
“We’ve been a staple in Durham for almost thirty years now,” Lawless said. “We’ve kind of put a new spin on the restaurant the last couple of years especially with the wine dinners and some new décor and some plate ware and things like that. We’re trying to be a little more modern than we used to be.”
The events feature certain wine and special menus but they attract a consistent crowd of foodies. Macina said that many patrons from Durham even have wine cellars in their homes or basements – they know what they’re looking for when they get to Parizade.
“We always do like a region with the wine,” Lawless said. “I don’t necessarily go 100 percent with the food, but I try to use some of the flavors. And then I will try to do a little bit of an authentic dish or two but it’s not necessarily exactly like someone’s mother would make in that region. There’s some Croatian flavors and some Croatian dishes but it’s also got kind of like a modern and my take on the food.”
Lawless said that Parizade will do a tasting of the wines four to six weeks ahead of time and the menu will be written a month or so in advance. Typically, the winemaker or a distributor company member will come and help run the dinner. Lawless said that often times they’re helping him more than the other way around; that's to make sure that they get it all right.
Parizade features events like these throughout the year. More information for the upcoming Croatian Wine Dinner, on April 17, can be found at their website.
“It depends on the time of year,” McKaela Bloch, hostess, said. “Usually around this time of year, they’re very busy.”
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