Our roving reviewer recently dropped into the new pet boutique in Hyde Park, Parker's Pets. From an admittedly dog-centric perspective, we both agree that Parker's Pets is a needed amenity, and helps prevent the somewhat isolated retail island on 55th between Kenwood and South Ridgewood Court from fading into gray shabbiness. (Cat and other pet owners feel free to offer your opinions on things we have overlooked.)
Parker's Pets presents an excellent selection of premium foods, toys, and clothing, with its food selection singled out by our reviewer as the best in Chicago. Less strong are the merchandising and service, which may strike visitors as drab and indifferent, respectively. Prices are in line with competitors, though not with Internet options. For some shoppers, the prices may be compensated for by a neighborhood delivery service, in addition to the simple convenience of a centrally located pet store in Hyde Park.
Parker's Pets shines in its selection of pet foods that you can't get at the supermarket, such as Merrick, Solid Gold, Wellness, Fromm's, and others. They offer a substantial selection of fresh-baked treats for dogs, something hard to find outside of specialty pet bakeries. Frozen raw meals are also available. Equally strong is the selection of clothing, clever toys, and useful gear. Our reviewer made a point to note that Parker's Pets keeps Lupine brand leashes in stock, the sturdiest and best guaranteed leash in the business.
In terms of merchandising, the layout and displays are utilitarian, and do not convey the same sense of boutique artistry evident on entering Zaleski and Horvath MarketCafe, or the spare but elegant arrangement of bicycle paraphernalia at Tati's custom frame shop. While the service is not objectionable, we hope that with time the energy and passion behind the Parker's Pets venture comes through more.
All in all, though there's certainly room for improvement, Parker's Pets is a welcome and quality addition to the neighborhood.
1342 E. 55th Street
Hours: Mon 12-6; Tues - Fri 11-7; Sat 10-6; Sun 12-5