OSWEGO, NY – La Parrilla offers just what the Port City needs during the cold days of winter (- and beyond).
Oswego’s newest restaurant will serve up the warmth and flavor of the Mediterranean.
The bistro has literally been Raymond JockÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dream since his youth.
According to Jock, the restaurant will provide “an unmatched ambience to local diners.”
The target date to open is Feb. 1.
“The name La Parrilla comes from Argentinean styled grilled pizzas, which will be on our menu. But, I would like to stress that La Parrilla is not a pizzeria; it’s more of a Mediterranean bistro,” Jock explained.
Jock and his staff are busy completely renovating and refurnishing 118 W. Second St. in downtown Oswego.
Oswego born and bred, chef Jock grew up delivering pizzas in his hometown before cultivating a love of food that eventually took him to culinary school in Florida.
From there, Jock worked as a personal chef for some of New York CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s richest and most influential families.
Then, after 20 years away, he decided to come back home.
“I didn’t ‘decide’ to move back. I always knew that I would eventually move back here to my hometown,” Jock told Oswego County Today. “I am excited at the opportunity to give back to the community I grew up in with the knowledge and experience I have learned over the last 20 years.”
Fresh is the key phrase in Chef Jock’s dishes.
He isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t simply bringing his love of food back to Oswego. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s giving back to the community as well.
La ParrillaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s menu, which will include such fare as oven roasted clams with sausage, fennel, salsa criolla and grilled chiabatta, Argentinean grilled pizza and fried arancini rice balls, will be built on OswegoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s abundant natural resources, Jock said.
By using ingredients from local growers and farmers, Jock said his goal isn’t just to feed his hometown; he plans on integrating La Parrilla into the local fabric as well.
“I plan on using the freshest local ingredients possible,” he said. “We’re not going to have something sit around for days.”
The restaurant will feature artwork created by SUNY Oswego students as well as local elementary students. Patrons will also be able to purchase some of the pieces, he added.
La Parrilla will also offer special nights in which a percentage of the sales will be donated to charity.
Jock started his culinary journey in Orlando, studying under Wendall Thompson and Gordon Kapp, two of Florida’s top chefs.
After attending culinary school in the early 1990s, he moved to NYC (“the restaurant capital of the world”) to pursue his passion.
It was there that he opened Nick and Toni’s Cafe on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with world renowned chefs, Johnathan Waxman and Daren McRonald.
After 6 years, he accepted the first of several positions as a personal chef, traveling around the country with some of New York City’s most successful and influential people like Jerry Seinfeld, David Sandborn, Donald Marron and others.
Now, he has returned to Oswego to pursue his longtime dream of opening his own restaurant: La Parrilla, a Mediterranean-style bistro that uses all local vendors and local farm products in his seasonally changing menu.
A few of Jock’s signature dishes include: Arancini, which is fried Italian aborio rice balls, tomato, Parmesan and olive oil; Almejas, oven roasted little neck calms, sausage, fennel, salsa criolla with grilled chiabata; Osso Buco, slowly braised veal shank, carrots, celery, onion, tomato red wine sauce served over soft polenta.