BURLINGTON - Parm, an Italian restaurant out of New York, recently earned unanimous approval from the Planning Board to open its first location in Massachusetts at the Burlington Mall.

The entity appeared before the Planning Board with special permit and site plan applications, ultimately seeking to locate in a portion of the first-floor of the former Sears space in the Burlington Mall at 75 Middlesex Turnpike. The plan is part of the major mixed-use commercial overhaul project underway in that area of the Mall campus, which includes renovations to the entire first-floor of Sears and the former Sears Auto Center - now formally called The Village at Burlington Mall.

Parm will locate at the corner of the former Sears building along its westerly side, adjacent to The Village at Burlington Mall. Parm is a full-service restaurant offering classic Italian fare in a casual setting. The site plan calls for indoor and outdoor/seasonal dining areas, including 120 indoor seats and 46 outdoor patio seats. The two proposed entrances for the restaurant would exist on the Middlesex Turnpike (main entrance) and Burlington Mall Road sides.

The outdoor patio will be protected by sturdy planters and bollards, which was important in pacifying Planning Staff’s concerns. Limited site plan modifications have been requested to allow for the creation of access/egress locations, including the primary entrance vestibule, defined patio area and building facade enhancements, such as awnings.

Parm is a chef-driven concept created by renowned chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, and restauranteur Jeff Zalaznick. Famous for chicken parmigiana, Mario's Meatballs, signature deli sandwiches and their “uncompromising New York roots,” they celebrate updated takes on classic Italian dishes with which their chefs grew up, in a fun, casual neighborhood setting.

Their dishes are all handmade from scratch, every day, and this thoughtful authentic craftsmanship has earned them two stars from the New York Times and the title of one of the 101 Best Places to Eat in North America by Newsweek.  

Parm is owned and operated by Major Food Group, the creative forces behind some of the most celebrated restaurants in the United States, including Carbone, Sadelle's, Dirty French, ZZ's Clam Bar, Santina, THE GRILL, THE POOL, The Lobster Club, and The Polynesian. 

Julia Pei, president of Business Development at Major Food Group, talked to the planners about the restaurant’s “family-friendly, comfort food Italian” theme. She also informed them that Burlington “stood out” above the other locations they looked at in Massachusetts, due to its burgeoning restaurant and retail landscape.

Planning Board Member Clerk Michael Espejo prudently asked if Parm’s site plan adheres to the newfangled social distancing expectations. The architect confirmed “a lot of personal space” has been created in the site plan for patrons, so their round booths and movable tables are expected to follow such health safety guidelines.

Justin Feldhouse, general manager at Burlington Mall, mentioned it’s “too early to tell” how the Mall is going to handle any social distancing mandates when they eventually re-open.

“We are still waiting on guidance from [Governor Charlie Baker],” confirmed Feldhouse.

In general, the planners expressed excitement and great anticipation for the possibility of Parm moving into Burlington.

“I am looking forward to have you in Burlington,” stated Planning Board Chair Barbara L’Heureux. “I think it will be a great addition.”

Depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, Parm hopes to open in the coming months.

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