To say that chef Scott Crawford’s recent announcement that he was leaving the much-lauded Standard Foods about seven months after it opened (after a notoriously delayed opening) came as a shock would be the understatement of the year when it comes to Triangle restaurant news.
Tongues wagged and patrons rushed to snag last-minute reservations before Crawford departed the immensely popular downtown Raleigh eatery, located in the revitalized Person Street area. Well, fans of Crawford’s celebrated cuisine need not fear — merely weeks after departing Standard Foods, he has announced the opening of his next restaurant.
Crawford & Son will be the first in a string of new projects that will be housed under the newly-formed Crawford Hospitality Group. Crawford said the 60-seat eatery, which will open this fall in the former Piebird location, will be a “representation of all those things that are most important to me: family, community, neighborhood and seasonality.”
The neighborhood theme was something the four-time James Beard semi-finalist returned to again and again in a recent interview. “I look for those neighborhood places when I travel, like Estela (in New York City),” he said. “It’s rare to find warm, friendly hospitality, and we are committed to that.”
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Crawford hopes to deliver that hospitality with the team he has assembled. Anthony Guerra, whose family owned the now-closed Bella Mia, a highly-rated coal-fired pizza restaurant in Cary, will come on board as the general manager. Crawford and his family were regulars at Bella Mia. Guerra went onto work at An Cuisines in Cary, Standard Foods and is making pizza again at the recently opened Tre Forni in Durham.
Fans of Standard Foods will notice some familiar faces in the kitchen as well. Chef de cuisine Bret Edlund will reprise his role at Crawford & Son, as will pastry chef Krystle Swenson. “My work with Bret and Krystle has really just scratched the surface,” Crawford said. “We made something very special, and we plan to continue that.”
These are not the only recent departures from Standard Foods. Butcher and chef Steven Goff also left to start a food truck, Brine Haus. No news yet on who will be the next chef at Standard Foods; owner John Holmes said this week: “We are still in the process of meeting with candidates. We’re taking our time.”
Crawford came to the Triangle in 2009 from The Cloister at Sea Island, the exclusive resort off the coast of Georgia. He helped the resort’s restaurant, Georgian Room, earn a five-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide. 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.
Crawford left the Umstead in 2014 to partner with Holmes to open Standard Foods and another restaurant, Nash Tavern. In February, The News & Observer’s Greg Cox gave a four-star review to Standard Foods. Two months later, Crawford again was named a semifinalist for a James Beard award: Best Chef Southeast.
Under Crawford Hospitality, Crawford said diners can expect to see the realization of plans for Nash Tavern; still on Nash Square, albeit in a different location than what was planned with Holmes. Crawford also is working on a number of consultation projects that will allow him to, in his words: “impact my community in multiple ways.”
With a planned fall 2016 opening, Crawford is excited to get back to cooking: “I need to be in the kitchen, that is where I belong. This is exactly the kind of restaurant I want to be doing right now.”
If you want to taste Crawford’s food before the restaurant opens, he will be one of several chefs cooking at the Fearrington House Restaurant for Our State Magazine’s Meet the Maker: Farm-to-Table dinner on June 16. Tickets cost $145 per person. More details: fearrington.com/event/farm-to-table-dinner/
Crawford & Son will be at 618 N. Person St., Raleigh. You can follow the progress on Instagram and Twitter at @CrawfordnSon.
Staff writer Andrea Weigl contributed to this report.
Matt Lardie is a Durham-based food and travel writer. He writes the Eat Write Go blog: eatwritego.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org