Photo by Alex Boerner
On a recent warm Saturday evening at Raleigh's Standard Foods
, things appeared to be business as usual. Reservations rolled in. Every seat at the bar was spoken for. Hungry diners milled about the restaurant's exterior, waiting for the host to beckon them to their tables. But one thing was missing: the chef.
Two days earlier, Scott Crawford worked his final proper shift behind the line at Standard Foods, the restaurant he built
alongside developer and Standard owner John Holmes.
Crawford posted a photograph
of the final night’s menu on social media, thanking his team members and diners for their support. Then he promised he’d see them again soon. He's keeping that promise.
Despite rumors that he would return to Georgia or migrate to the foodie mecca of Charleston, the chef has, this morning, announced plans to open Crawford & Son, a sixty-seat restaurant just a stone’s throw from Standard this fall. He’s also formed his own hospitality group, Crawford Hospitality, to manage Crawford & Son and a tavern-style restaurant that’s still in the works. Crawford & Son will be located at 618 North Person Street in the space formerly occupied by PieBird
“I’m just stoked,” Crawford says of the move. “This is the first time in my career that I’ll be the principal owner. I’m going to do something that speaks to all my favorite things—family, community, seasonality, and neighborhood. It just feels right.”
There was some truth to those rumors, though. Crawford entertained several out-of-town offers—and looked at fifteen properties in the area—before deciding to build upon the momentum he’s already created in downtown Raleigh. He hopes Crawford & Son will afford him a connection to his community and a stable life for his family, including his two young children.
“I worked on my granddad’s sawmill growing up, and that’s where I learned work ethic and responsibility. I got to make money and hang out, and he was so cool to me,” Crawford says. “He had these old Navy tattoos, and it’s probably the reason why I’m all tatted up now. I would love to be able to pass those same lessons on to my family. I hope this is part of my legacy.”
Over the summer, Crawford will travel for research as architect Louis Cherry designs the buildout of the interior space. The chef has already assembled a superstar cast, including former Standard Foods chef de cuisine Bret Edlund, and pastry chef Krystle Swenson.
He’s also tapped the talented Anthony Guerra, former owner of Bella Mia Pizza
in Cary, as the restaurant’s general manager.
Though it took nearly two years for Standard Foods to open in the redeveloped Person Street Plaza, Crawford announced his exit after only six months on the job. The departure from Standard also marks the end of his partnership with Holmes, including their planned second restaurant, Nash Tavern. Despite the significant delays incurred while opening Standard, Crawford feels confident the restaurant will be open by fall 2016.
“I asked that question to Louis at least a dozen times,” Crawford stresses. “At least.”
He also insists the move down the street will only enhance the thriving Person Street community. He plans to model Crawford & Son on a neighborhood restaurant and to offer his trademark seasonal Southern cuisine at an affordable price.
“I don’t want to be considered special occasion, no way,” Crawford says. “I don’t want to price anyone out. In fact, I won’t. People have been so supportive, and they love my food. I’m just going to continue to cook my food.”
As of late Monday night, Standard had yet to name a new head chef. Holmes says the search is ongoing.