Family has always been at the forefront of chef Eamonn McParland’s mind and, in his family, the restaurant business has intertwined with it.
“Food and restaurants and cooking has always been a part of us,” McParland said.
McParland grew up in a cooking family, with his mother and stepfather Meg and Mike LaCarrubba previously operating and cooking at diners in Staten Island and North Carolina through the years.
So, after years of honing his skills and gastronomy at Render Kitchen and Bar, it’s no surprise that when McParland decided to leave his partnership at Render earlier this year, part of that consideration was because of family. In August 2019, twins Liliana and Mariana were born prematurely and, during their time in the NICU, McParland had time to reflect on how he wanted to be there for them and also what his own future looked like.
“The break happened and I felt like it was time to create a life of my own,” he said. “As much as I was a part of Render, it wasn’t mine alone. Now, I have the opportunity to control the experience the moment (customers) walk in the door to the moment they leave.”
During the five-month hiatus, the identical twins have grown strong and so has McParland’s appetite in creating his own restaurant. And now that he’s ready, his family is with him at every step.
“It is funny how things come full circle, because when they moved up here, I helped Mike open up this place,” McParland said. “But now, I’m back here and he’s helping me.”
The new restaurant will be “familiar, simple and approachable without being boring or sloppy,” McParland describes, with a warm ambiance curated by Sandra. McParland will be leading the kitchen, offering familiar items like burgers and fried chicken sandwiches along with more upscale options like steak tartar and pork belly.
The menu may change frequently, depending upon what is seasonal, local or what is available for McParland to create with, but burgers and chicken sandwiches will become staples. A seasonal vegetarian and vegan menu will also be available, and McParland said the kitchen will be considerate of food allergies. Since the business doesn’t qualify for the riverfront liquor licensing, only beer and wine will be served at the restaurant, but McParland said he is working on a specific list.
“I wanted to still do the fun food I’ve done in the past like at Render,” he said. “But I also wanted to have more approachable options.”
The space itself will also see some transformations, with Sandra and mother Meg combining the two ambiances of a diner by day and elevated restaurant by night.
New butcher block table tops will replace old tables, and black metal chairs will be swapped out for old wooden high back chairs. New wood-laminate floors will also be installed, as well as greenery and homey decor placed around the space. The restaurant also plans to create an outdoor patio space just in time for the fall season.
“We really want the food to be the center stage of the whole thing,” Sandra McParland said. “But we do want to try to create something that is unique and is warm. … I want you to come in here, read the delicious menu and you look outside and think ‘I don’t want to leave here.’”
Eventually the plan is for Roselily to find its own individual space to operate out of, but with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, McParland decided to keep it within the family for now.
“I’m going to be here as long as I’m welcome here or when another space opens up,” he said. “This is just a great jump off point for me. … I’m really excited to get back at it for sure.”
Roselily at L Street Kitchen will be open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m.