On the Line: Ryan Adams of Parallel Pizzeria and Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Chef Ryan Adams
Don’t call him lazy. Photo courtesy Parallel Pizzeria

Some restaurateurs are satisfied with one successful concept. But not Ryan Adams; he’s launching not one, but TWO new eateries this season. Parallel Pizzeria just launched at The Row in Dana Point. Buttermilk Fried Chicken is nearly ready to go now open in Old Towne Orange. Six years after our initial interview, we meet up with chef again to see how things are cookin’.

 

Which stand-alone project did you pursue first: pizza or chicken? And we know why you did chicken, but tell me more about your decision  to also do pizza.

I’ve been working on the fried chicken concept for at least five years. I looked at opening a pizzeria because I just haven’t been able to find pizza I really like in Orange County.

 

How would you describe the style of pizza you serve? And describe the type of equipment/water used in the process of creating it.

Our pizza is New Haven-style, which is a thin crust using fermented dough. The hardwood, charcoal oven is made by Wood Stone Corporation. Our triple-filtered water filtration system pulls out most of the heavy minerals from the water (chloramine, calcium and chlorine). The filter is replaced each month.

 

What is the most unique pizza on the menu? Also, I know there’s a secondary dough option for dietary restrictions. What is that made of?

Our Mashed Potato Pizza so far is the most unique pizza on the menu. The mashed potato is a great base for the other ingredients, including bacon, jalapeno, pecorino. onion, garlic and spices. We offer a gluten-free cauliflower crust, which uses tapioca flour in the dough to help it bind.

 

How does the interior reflect Parallel’s super chill vibe? What video games can we find in your mini arcade? And why Parallel?

The interior is composed of old vintage skateboards on the walls, surf-inspired artwork, vintage punk flyers and full wall murals. The vibe fits perfectly in Dana Point. The arcade is still in the works, so I hope to share more details on the exact games soon. Regarding the name, it reflects the parallel coasts (East coast flavor meets West coast lifestyle), the parallel lines of the highway, as we’re located on PCH, and the parallel lines and swells in the ocean.

 

Having enough seating can be a challenge, but you’re maximizing space at the pizzeria. Let’s discuss the different options diners have.

Indoors, we can seat up to 40. And soon, we’ll have counter seating for up to eight. On the patio we can seat 30.

 

Tell me more about your Parallel Pizzeria partner. Did you say he was a former musician? What’s his pizza experience?

James Nunn was the bassist and drummer for Guttermouth, a punk band out of Huntington Beach. He drove around the country for years, and has probably eaten more pizza than anyone I know. He swears that New Haven-style is the best, and I agree. James was also a former chef, and worked for different restaurant groups in the past.

 

One of the most important elements of a successful restaurant is location, location, location. How did you decide on putting the two concepts  in Orange and Dana Point (as opposed to vice versa?).

I always envisioned starting my fried chicken concept in Old Towne Orange, as I like the charm of the neighborhood. For the pizzeria, I looked at high-traffic locations with good visibility and thought The Row in Dana Point was ideal. Plus, Dana Point fits our low-key surf and skate culture.

 

What was your biggest obstacle at each concept?

In Dana Point, construction was the biggest hurdle. For Buttermilk, we’re working with tight space in Old Towne Orange, and our challenge has been coordinating the flow of operations.

 

The biggest issue I have with OTO is parking. Do you know the status of the parking structure? What are my other options, with regards to street (non-permit) parking and overlooked lots?

The parking structure will be complete by end of October or early November. My best suggestion– take Uber. Or you can use the city-owned lots, which offer two or three hour parking and are only a block or two away.

 

What will the decor be in the Buttermilk space?

Buttermilk Fried Chicken will have a modern farmhouse decor with crisp whites and “greige” (think a grayish beige) with some pops of orange and black. Wood tables will complete the farmhouse look.

 

How will the fried chicken menu differ from your monthly offering at Three Seventy Common? Is beer and wine offered? Will there be new sides or items not currently offered at Three Seventy?

Yes, we will offer beer and wine. We added sandwiches and salads and some appetizers to the offerings, as well as a honey-roasted version of the chicken. A few new sides we are not offering at Three Seventy Common include mac and cheese, creamed corn, tots and biscuits with maple butter. 

 

Are there any off-menu items for locals to know about at either spot?

Not just yet, but we are working on some “off the menu” items for both eateries. We’re also working on additional pizzas to offer, as well as a potential brunch menu to serve at Buttermilk.

 

What is your secret to tasty fried chicken: frying method, the type of chicken you use, seasoning, your dredging method, or something else? And what are you willing to share with us?

It’s a combination of everything– from the type of chicken, the dry curing, the dredging mix and the cooking/frying method. But I can’t share the details on this one. 

 

Parallel Pizzeria is located at 34255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Stes. 101-102, (949) 441-7406; www.parallelpizzeria.com.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken will open at 238 W. Chapman Ave., Ste. 100, (714) 941-9124; www.buttermilkfc.com.

A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.

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