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Former Standard Foods will see new life as a brewery, thanks to beloved local brewers

Standard Beer and Foods, which will pair their own brewed beers with food, will take over the former Standard Foods space in Raleigh.
Standard Beer and Foods, which will pair their own brewed beers with food, will take over the former Standard Foods space in Raleigh. jleonard@newsobserver.com

After a 14-month exhale, the reset button has been pressed at Standard Foods.

The handsome space near Person Street will soon come back to life with a slight name change and a completely new concept: Standard Beer and Food.

It’s the latest project from Whit Baker and Andy Schnitzer, who are also partners in Cary’s popular Bond Brothers Beer Co. and the beer pop-up Ancillary Fermentation.

The new Standard will continue their focus on beer, but Baker and Schnitzer tell The News & Observer they promise something beyond the ordinary brewpub, building a menu and taplist in harmony.

“We’re exploring how you can get beer and food more in sync than by making the beer and food totally separately,” Baker said in an interview. “We’ll be doing riffs on pub-style beers, really taking the Standard name to heart, but tweaking the recipes in a way that’s culinarily inspired.”

Minor renovations will begin this summer with plans to open by the fall.

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From left, Whit Baker, Teagan and Andy Schnitzer in the dining room of what will become Standard Beer and Foods in Raleigh on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. Standard Beer and Foods will pair their own brewed beers with food. Juli Leonard jleonard@newsobserver.com

For most of its life, Standard Foods has been a restaurant space with a side-gig grocery store. The food was acclaimed in its two iterations, yet plagued by fits and starts.

Scott Crawford was the opening chef, partnering with developer John Holmes to open the upscale restaurant with a side gig grocery store. After less than a year, Crawford left to open his own restaurant, Crawford & Son, about a block away. Standard reopened in October 2016 under chef Eric Montagne, but closed in April 2018 and has been vacant ever since.

The old Standard Foods is gone now, as is the grocery store. Holmes closed the company along with the restaurant last year and said he’s just the landlord now.

Schnitzer said their Standard will be a neighborhood bar, the latest addition to Raleigh’s lively Person Street District.

“Whenever we looked for a brewpub, we wanted it to be in a place that would likely have adjacent communities support it,” Schnitzer said. “Being a great communal gathering place, which Standard was, it will be more so when it adds the beer. Breweries are always communal gathering places.”

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The barcode logo at Standard Beer and Food, photographed in 2015 when it was Standard Foods, is built into the ceiling with wooden beams and appears as a brass inlay on one corner of the marble bar. The Raleigh Architecture Co. designed the shelves and ceiling wood installation and it was built by Arrowhead. JULI LEONARD jleonard@newsobserver.com

Baker and Schnitzer had planned to change the name, but the space seemed to persuade them otherwise. Standard’s barcode logo is built into the ceiling with wooden beams and appears as a brass inlay on one corner of the marble bar — subtle touches pointing more to an identity than mere design. So they kept the name, saying there was an old Standard and now there’s a new one.

“We’re getting rid of the market and adding the brewery function, but we’re keeping the philosophy of regional producers and artisans,” Schnitzer said. “The food program will not be the same. It’ll be more casual, but not your traditional brewpub.”

Like the Standard before it, Baker said Standard Beer plans to also make use of Raleigh City Farm next door, with seasonal ingredients showing up in the glass as well as on the plate.

The beers for Standard Beer will be brewed on site with brewing equipment set up in the former kitchen. Baker said the beers — upwards six to 10 beers — will be simple, but not necessarily basic: an IPA, a lager, a porter, all aimed to inspire the food menu. They’re now in the process of finding an executive chef.

“I can adjust a beer recipe or the chef can adjust a dish; it will be complementary,” Baker said.

Renovations to the space at 205 East Franklin St., will be minor, the partners said, including the addition of brewery equipment, a fresh coat of paint and removing the former grocery store.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.
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