Standard Foods — the highly anticipated joint venture of former Herons executive chef Scott Crawford and local developer John Holmes — opens its doors to the public today, after several tantalizing months of delays. All signs indicate that it’s going to be well worth the wait.
A combination restaurant and grocery store with an intensely local focus that the partners are describing as “obsessive sourcing,” Standard Foods is located in Person Street Plaza, a Holmes redevelopment project that is now home to Raleigh City Farm, Yellow Dog Bakery and other locally owned businesses.
An in-house butcher shop featuring pastured meats and an extensive charcuterie selection is just one tantalizing aspect of a grocery store that promises to raise the bar well above anything the Triangle has seen to date. Other highlights include North Carolina seafood, locally grown and milled corn and wheat, organic produce, un-homogenized milk, cream and buttermilk, and farmstead cheeses from across the South. For the grab-and-go set, the restaurant kitchen turns out a selection of boxed lunches and prepared foods.
Crawford, a three-time James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for Best Chef: Southeast, is clearly taking the Standard Foods mission seriously, with “full utilization” as his guiding principle. You’ll find, say, duck neck rillettes as part of a charcuterie “Butcher Board” presentation, along with house-cured lardo, corned beef tongue and rabbit terrine. Elsewhere on the menu, you might see a duck porridge enriched with heart gravy and a poached duck egg.
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The chef’s Southern-accented, refined-but-not-fussy opening menu includes apple soup with smoked brown butter, blistered peanuts and fried rosemary; seared flounder with confit shrimp and a pickled tomato nage; a “cassoulet” of heritage pork and pickled butter beans; and a roasted-rabbit-and-sweet-potato twist on chicken and dumplings. All served against a rustic-chic backdrop of an 80-seat dining room with hewn wood tables and accents of marble, slate and leather. At the 14-seat slate-and-marble bar, refreshments include craft cocktails, NC beers and a wine list designed by certified master sommelier Fred Dexheimer.
The restaurant at Standard Foods (209 E. Franklin St., Raleigh; 919-307-4652; standard-foods.com) serves lunch and dinner, Tuesday-Saturday. The bar serves snacks from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is open until 2 a.m. The grocery is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.