The Curtain Opens on a New Production at The Parrot: Karl Held Named as Executive Chef

When Gus Zucco and Hillary Styer Zucco stepped into the restaurant business, they knew it would be an adventure. As their vision comes together, more pieces of the scene are falling into place. Ask Gus and he will tell you “…running a restaurant is like one big production.” To keep the wheels moving in the right direction at The Parrot, Karl Held has joined the team as the president of operations and executive chef to help Gus and Hillary bring their ideas to fruition.

Karl Held

A Hearty Pot of Experience

Karl Held is a native of Gettysburg. In 1984, he ventured out of the small town into the world and found himself in New York and the Berkshires. He got a great start working with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, learning the ins and outs of production, and even found himself learning how to cook for a stage full of musicians.

In 1996, Karl returned to his roots and took a position at Gettysburg College as a senior advisor to the president for art and culture. His thirst for culture in this small town proved quite beneficial to the local community. During his 12 years on campus, Karl helped develop the Adams County Arts Council, brought an ambassador lecture series to the college for international speakers, and worked on renovations to the town landmark, the Majestic Theater. He has helped shaped the area’s commitment to the arts at many levels, including serving as a founding board member of the Adams County arts Council and the founding executive director of the Gettysburg Festival.

In 2009, Karl returned to New York to work on Broadway. His production work on the revival of Ragtime scored him seven Tony nominations. He moved on to soundtrack production for Into the Woods before becoming president and CEO of the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey.

The Big Picture

Karl spent his years living a dual life of small town pull and big city excitement. Traveling between Gettysburg and New York — both considered “home” in their own ways — has kept him balanced. This quality is what Gus and Hillary were drawn to. They found Karl’s understanding of the town refreshing. Now, he is working to help The Parrot grow its audience through great food and unique experiences.

Karl Held

The new menu, unveiled on Friday, December 1, brings in a selection of classic comfort foods with some old favorites from menus past. Indulge in house-smoked meats, including bacon, turkey and salmon, the ever popular crab bisque or a new dish, chicken marsala, chef Karl’s specialty. In addition, there are more varieties of meatless options for those keeping to the plant-based way of life, and daily specials to keep things fresh. Consider a black bean burger or the quiche of the day. And let’s not forget about Sunday brunch! Hearty shrimp and grits or fresh biscuits and gravy start the day off on a high note.

The food is not the only thing to look forward to here at The Parrot. As the upstairs is getting a new look, excitement is brewing for what is to come. Two rooms will be made available for private parties. As an ode to the history of the town, The Parrot will offer a new gathering experience with a speakeasy vibe in the upstairs lounge. Guests will be privy to enjoying exclusive drinks while sitting with friends and taking in the design of an authentic historic hideaway. The design and execution of this idea will be guided by Karl as his newest production project.

Karl Held

Finding ways to bridge the gap between the coziness of this historic town and the culture of all the world has to offer is often not easy, especially in the restaurant business. Yet when done right, both can set the scene for a wonderful experience. At The Parrot, Hillary, Gus, Karl and their team are setting the stage for great things to come in a town ready to embrace foodie culture.  

Find The Parrot at 35 Chambersburg St. in Gettysburg; phone: (717) 337-3739.

  • Photos: Courtesy of The Parrot