Five months after opening, chef Scott Crawford has announced that he is leaving Raleigh’s Standard Foods.
The combined restaurant and grocery store was Raleigh’s most highly-anticipated restaurant opening last year. It was a project between Crawford, the former executive chef at the highly rated Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, and Raleigh developer John Holmes. Holmes owns the Person Street Plaza, which is home to Standard Foods, as well as Yellow Dog Bread Co. and Wine Authorities, and a key part of the revitalization of the northern end of Person Street in downtown Raleigh.
This announcement also means the pair will not be opening Nash Square Tavern, a restaurant they had planned for the old Raleigh Times building at 211 W. Martin St. in downtown Raleigh.
“Standard Foods’ mission is not changing — just the approach to food in the restaurant is going to change,” said Holmes, president of Hobby Properties, in an interview Friday morning who noted that the search for Crawford’s replacement will begin shortly.
The restaurant, grocery store and butcher shop was created “as a place where chefs, farmers, butchers and bartenders could collaborate and celebrate North Carolina and regional agriculture,” according to a press release. In the statement, Holmes also said: “We wish executive chef Scott Crawford the best as he leaves to pursue new ventures.”
What is less clear is whether Crawford will stay in the Raleigh area for his next project. Crawford’s departure from the Umstead for Raleigh restaurant scene was seen as a hopeful sign that the community would continue to attract top talent and continue to raise its national profile.
In an interview Thursday, Crawford said, “I’m excited to announce my next project but not today.”
When Crawford came to the Triangle in 2009, he already had an impressive resume. He had worked at The Cloister at Sea Island, the exclusive resort off the coast of Georgia and cooked in the resort’s restaurant, Georgian Room, which earned a five-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide. At the time, John Kessler, the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s restaurant critic, described Crawford as “the best chef in Georgia.”
Crawford spent five years at the Umstead Hotel, first as the executive chef at Herons and later overseeing the hotel’s entire food and dining operation. In that time, Herons received the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards for the first time. Herons also got a rare five-star review from the N&O’s restaurant critic, Greg Cox who wrote: “Crawford has clearly wasted no time in earning a place among the very best chefs the Triangle has ever seen.”
In February, Cox gave a four-star review to Standard Foods describing Crawford’s transition from high end dining to a more casual fare as “Scott Crawford Unplugged.” Earlier this month, Crawford was named a semifinalist for the fourth time for the James Beard awards’ Best Chef: Southeast.
“I’m super proud of this team and this project and what we achieved in a short amount of time,” Crawford said. “I’m completely overwhelmed and humbled by the support Raleigh has shown me.”
Crawford will continue to helm the kitchen at Standard Foods through the first week of May.
Standard Foods is at 209 E. Franklin St., Raleigh. Info: 919-307-4652; standard-foods.com.