Business Spotlight: Adriano's Brick Oven / Parea Cocktail Lounge
The menu at Adriano’s Brick Oven on the west side of Glenwood’s Town Square has expanded since the restaurant opened eight years ago, but pizza remains the staple of the mom and pop business owned by Adrian and Julie Kalambokidis and their sons Payton and Jacey.
“Our primary (menu item) has been and always will be pizza,” Julie said.
Three years ago, Adriano’s was named one of the Top 101 Pizza Restaurants in the United States by The Daily Meal, a popular foodie website. The recognition was a boon for business.
“It was right during the early stages of COVID so it helped us out.,” Adrian said. “We got a lot of recognition and people coming in from all over the place, every state around here. It was a crazy, busy month. It was a wonderful gift.
“A year after that, we were still in the middle of COVID, we were recognized by msn.com as No. 1 in Iowa. I don’t know how they decide these things, but I’ll take it and run with it.”
Adrian noted that the pizzas at the restaurant are all start with made-from scratch dough and sauce. From there, the pies are made with a variety of fresh toppings, ranging from the traditional pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and black olives to basil, pineapple and meatball.
So, what’s the most popular pizza at Adriano’s? It’s a pie that’s only available four or five times a year.
“The crab rangoon is by far the most popular,” Adrian said. “We have it about every three months for a week and we know it’s going to be an excellent week when it’s our special.”
As for the pizzas on the regular menu, Julie said the chicken bacon ranch is the top seller.
In addition to pizza, the restaurant also serves ravioli, chicken wings, garlic cheese bread, salads and sandwiches.
Could more Italian dishes, like pasta be coming to the menu? The thought is under consideration.
“We actually took some cooking classes at a cooking school when we were in Italy,” Julie said. “We’re not sure we’ll do it here or at Parea (cocktail lounge) or just cater it.”
Adriano’s offers sit-down dining, but Adrian says about 75 percent of the restaurant’s business is carry-out. Delivery is available primarily to businesses around Town Square. The restaurant is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday from Noon – 7 p.m.
Parea’s is an upscale cocktail lounge the Kalambokidis family opened in early 2020, but had to close temporarily when the COVID-19 pandemic began. It reopened later in the year and business has continued to grow ever since.
“We got our inspiration from some speakeasies,” Julie said. “Our thought process was when we go out and get away, we like to go to the Old Market and catch that vibe, but you don’t want to drink and drive.
“We were thinking that, maybe there’s people locally would want something closer, too, so they don’t have to drink and drive. It’s something we would go to.”
Parea is a comfortable place friends gather for an evening of conversation or to take in one of the entertainment acts.
“People come in and they’re surprised. They don’t expect to see a place like that here,” Adrian said.
Most of the entertainment is hired to perform during the winter months. The acts have included singers, comedians and even a drag show. The entertainers have ranged from local musicians to regional and national performers from places as far away as Texas and Nashville.
A variety of specialty cocktails are available at Parea, but Adrian said the most popular drink is a traditional one.
“Our signature drink is just the straight up regular Old Fashion,” he said. “It surprises me because it’s a pretty strong boozy drink. We have a few twists on that, too, that do OK.”
Parea is available for private rentals, such as wedding and baby showers, business gatherings and company parties.
“If they rent it during business hours, they get the back room. If they rent it on days we’re closed, they get the bar, too,” Julie said.
Parea is open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 - 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. – Midnight and Sunday from Noon to 7 p.m. Some food items are available on Sundays and occasionally on other weekend days.
The family’s third business, Gaby’s Goodies, is an ice cream and sweet treat shop located at 502 E. Sharp St. The signature treat is “Rolled Ice Cream.”
Gaby’s Goodies is named after Adrian and Julie’s late daughter, who passed away in 2020.
“Our daughter’s name was Gabriella. We were going to start that prior to her passing,” Julie said. “We were looking at other buildings and obviously that got put aside but when this building came up, we thought we can still do that and honor her.”
Gaby’s Goodies is a seasonal store that will be closing for the winter this weekend. It will reopen in the Spring of 2024.
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NOTE: Business Spotlight is sponsored by the Mills County Chamber Of Commerce.