Raleigh, N.C. — After four months, Standard Foods will reopen its restaurant on Thursday with a new chef at the helm and new management.
Eric Montagne, who was most recently the executive chef at Boiler Room Oyster Bar in Kinston, will be taking over the kitchen. Montagne is enjoying the opportunity to work with the venue's grocery and butcher section, which remained open while the restaurant was closed. The market sides menu is determined each day by what Montagne finds only a few feet from his kitchen.
"(These are) simple sides you should be able to recreate by going to the market," Montagne said.
The collaboration doesn't end at the sides. Montagne is working with the new butcher, Jeremy Hardcastle, to determine the best proteins available each day for menu items. A butcher cut of beef will also be available for market price daily.
"I want to feature some of the lesser known cuts of beef," Montagne said.
There is a definitely synergy between the grocery and restaurant sides of Standard Foods.
"They drive each other," front of house manager Fred Dexheimer said.
Being from south Florida, Montagne is going to use his background in seafood to create unique dishes. He is relying on some of the connections he made at Boiler Room to get fresh seafood, including Jarrett Bay Oysters. When he worked at Boiler Room, Montagne went fishing with the Jarrett Bay Oyster Company in Morehead City and got to try their take on a New Orleans' staple, grilled oysters. Montagne is doing his own version of that simple grilled oyster with compound butter on the menu at Standard Foods.
New pairing options
The Jarett Bay Oysters will be part of Standard Foods' small plates menu, which also includes chicken liver pate and shrimp toast. The ever changing menu also features larger entrees like trout, snapper and chicken.
While diners can choose to order small plates and entrees, they can also opt for a tasting menu of a few items, Dexheimer said. In addition to the customizable dining option, guests can also get beverage pairings, including 3-ounce tastes of wine. Dexheimer said the wine samples were something he and his team did a lot of at the Rx Wine Lab in Durham.
"We want it to be fun," said Dexheimer, a master sommelier who developed the wine list for Standard Foods when it opened last year.
Originally, Dexheimer and Montagne were looking to open a fine dining French restaurant in Glenwood South in a space owned by developer John Holmes, who also owns Standard Foods
When executive chef Scott Crawford announced earlier this year that he would be leaving Standard Foods, the opportunity presented itself for Dexheimer and Montagne to join Standard Foods.
While the menu has changed, the dining room remains mostly the same. A few cosmetic changes were made, including more two-seat tables, seat cushions and new bar stools.
In addition to dinner service, Standard Foods is also planning to host wine and butcher diners after hours, Dexheimer said.
Standard Foods is committed to sustainability and supporting local farmers. In addition to partnering with Raleigh City Farm, Standard has its own farm behind the restaurant. Montagne and Dexheimer have worked with a local farmer to plant specific herbs and produce that will be used in dishes and cocktails on the menu.
In addition, the produce boxes and stands in the market are being made from reclaimed wood. And all non-dairy and protein items are being composted in the kitchen.
The menu also features a featured item made with corn meal from Buffaloe Milling in Kittrell. This week that item is a tamale featuring wild mushrooms.
"We want to build something that is bigger than all of us," Montagne said.