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Parts of Paris Combines French Chic With Old Florida Charm

The downtown French restaurant has an unmistakable air of elegance, yet it’s casual enough for dining in shorts and sandals.

For some people, dining at a French restaurant might seem as comfortable as a trip to the dentist.

But one downtown business owner is trying to change the perception of French dining by utilizing a combination of Parisian style and Southern charm.

Parts of Paris, a chic eatery rich in Old Florida grace and dripping with European flair, is the creation of longtime restaurateur Chris Orrung, who says he had no reservations about building such a bistro in town.

“It was a lifelong dream to open my own place," the Stockholm native related. "I always loved this area, so when I saw this beautiful little house was available, my business partner and I bought it right away."

“We completely gutted the place and restored it to the original grandeur of the house," he added. "It’s a Parisian restaurant meets Old Florida charm.”

Orrung, who was born in Sweden but spent many years living in New York, has been in the business since 1986.

After working in establishments in Miami, the Bahamas as well as New York and France, he knows what makes a restaurant successful.

He’s also savvy enough to realize that a formal five-star French restaurant probably wasn’t going to fly in the Harbor. So he took the best parts of all the places he’s seen and combined them into one cool and comfortable spot. 

“My wife did the interior decorating, inspired by many of the French restaurants we have visited in New York and Paris,” he explained. “The bar is a very typical French bar, with the dark wood, the wine bucket and glasses out and the cappuccino machine in back.” 

“But just because we have tablecloths doesn’t mean you have to dress up. I mean look at me, I’m wearing shorts and sandals!”

Of course there’s more to a great restaurant than atmosphere.

According to Orrung, the food at Parts of Paris meets the high standards of French fare, with a menu of freshly prepared items including staples like fois gras, bouillabaisse, escargot and steak tartare.

But for those who might be fearful of frog legs, they also offer filet mignon, New York strip and beef stew, along with a nice selection of craft beers and a wide variety of wines by the glass.

The entire package works to create an elegant yet inviting dining experience, a place where you can celebrate a special occasion with a partner or grab a drink with friends after work.

“We are very open to people coming in to check us out for an espresso, a dessert or a beer, sit on the patio and read the paper with a cappuccino,” Orrung said.

“We want people to relax and enjoy themselves while dining in a little bit of style. There’s no reason to be intimidated by a tablecloth.” 

Parts of Paris

Address: 146 4th Ave N.

Phone: 727-797-7979

Hours: Mon - Thu, 5pm - 10pm; Fri, Sat, 5pm - 11pm; Sun, noon - 8pm

Priscilla Nystrom November 02, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Love this beautiful, charming restaurant, My husband and I have been several times and love the food , service and of course the atmosphere!
Beatrice Hernandez November 02, 2012 at 06:02 PM
My Fiancé and I have eaten here over a dozen times, there food is AMAZING! The atmosphere is contagious and everyone is great... When we go we always sit at the bar and have the best time. The owner Chris is very knowledgeable about wines and lets you try them and introduces you to any he thinks you may like. Parts of Paris has become one of our favorite spots to eat. Great for celebratory dinners such as Birthdays, anniversarys or just because.
Jeffrey Rosenfield November 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Thank you Priscilla and Beatrice for the great insight into Parts of Paris from a diner's perspective!
Valerie Nolte November 02, 2012 at 07:27 PM
I went to Parts of Paris for dinner last night with a couple of my friends to celebrate my birthday. After enjoying a wonderful bowl of French Onion soup with a glass of wine, I was looking forward to the filet mignon entree. Unfortunately, the piece of meat that was delivered was very charred, dry, and unevenly cooked. The pommes frites too were overcooked and were more like canned potato sticks than fries. The good news, however, is that after I flagged down the waiter and explained that my meal was not up to my expectations, the owner quickly apologized and made sure that a replacement steak and fries were delivered - free of charge. The replacement was exactly what I was expecting! The steak was cooked to a perfect medium and the pommes frites were hot and crispy - yet soft in the middle. His quick attention and genuine concern made certain that I will visit again, often. My only suggestion for the future would be for the waiter to be pro-active when delivering a meal. It is extremely rare for me to send something back. In this case, the steak and potatoes probably should not have been served in the first place.
Bstone November 02, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Hands down one of the best wine selections in the area for people are "in to" wines. Chris, the Owner, knows a lot about each wine that he offers. The food... Well I will let the food speak for itself. Trust me, you will be back after you take your first bite. This place has quickly become my favorite hangout.

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