Every corner of Vermont has local restaurants that are iconic institutions. In West Glover, that place is Parker Pie. The pizza pub’s devoted following, and has recently expanded to a second location.
On a summer weeknight live music serenades a nearly full house of diners and drinkers at Parker Pie’s original restaurant in West Glover. Local craft beers and cider are flowing from the taps.
Retired schoolteacher David Paul is regular here. Says Paul, “I remember the first couple of years I’d come in and I’d sit in the front room and there’d be some nights when there’d be five or six of us who knew each other. And then within the next three years all of a sudden you’d come over here and you couldn’t find a place to park on certain nights.”
Cavan Meese, one of the co-owners and founder of Parker Pie, agrees. “We certainly didn’t expect that sort of popularity when we opened the place. We were thinking people are driving 20 minutes or more to go get some pizza and everyone’s either driving to Lyndonville or driving to Newport-- a long way to go from Glover. So, now it’s funny to me that people from Newport and from Lyndonville are driving to our place to go get some pizza.”
That’s probably because the pizza at Parker Pie is really good. The Food Network named its Green Mountain Special pizza as one of the 50 best pizzas in America.
Inside the kitchen at the West Glover restaurant, 50 pounds of dough is being prepared in an industrial mixer. It’s hard to keep names straight at Parker Pie, what with Annie and Anika, Gavin and Cavan, Alissa, Melissa and Marissa. There are also two Robs and two Kelseys.
Kelsey Christiansen is studying film criticism at Smith College when she’s not part of the summer kitchen crew. “I grew up a 1/4 mile from here and I remember I was like 12 when they first opened and I always used to come and get pizzas and sort of fantasized about working here when I got to be this age and that’s exactly what happened and it’s crazy. Livin’ the dream.”
Cavan Meese himself left the area when he was Christiansen’s age. But he came back later in his 20s, and decided to stay. One of his friends bought an old house near Lake Parker that eventually became the home of Parker Pie.
Explains Meese, “We were all sort of hanging around a lot and thinking it was cool that we had this space but didn’t know quite what to do with it. It was just a store and we all liked hanging out there but couldn’t figure out how to legitimize that impulse.”
The friends turned an existing space into a place where good food draws together a community. And that’s the goal for the restaurant’s newest venture.
Last week Parker Pie opened a second restaurant at the Newport State Airport. The new space has served as a diner and an airplane maintenance shop, with a view onto the runway from one of its windows. Like the original Parker Pie, the location could be described as the middle of nowhere.
Co-owner Cavan Meese is undaunted. “Some people look at us and say, “You’re crazy,” but that’s exactly what they were saying when we started building the place in West Glover, too. So, I think this location is kind of perfect.”
And Meese promises the drive out to the airport will be worth the trip.