Chef Scott Crawford has partnered with Raleigh native John Holmes of Hobby Properties, and together, formed Nash Square Hospitality Group. Standard Foods – the first of two concepts underway – represents a shared vision of Holmes and Crawford for a restaurant and grocery that will set a new standard for food in the area, reflecting Raleigh’s progressive place in the South today. Standard Foods will open in early Fall at Person Street Plaza (209 East Franklin Street; www.standard-foods.com; Twitter: @_standardfoods; Instagram: @standardfoods); Nash Tavern, located on Nash Square, will follow in 2015. (Photo of Chef Crawford attached.)
“I’m proud of my accomplishments in fine dining at luxury properties over the last two decades, and feel especially privileged to have been able to shape such a talented team at The Umstead,” explained Crawford, upon his departure. Crawford served as Food & Beverage Director and Executive Chef of Herons and The Umstead Hotel & Spa for five years.
“The Umstead Hotel and Spa is truly grateful for Scott Crawford’s five years of leadership and service to the food and beverage program including Herons. We wish him all the best as he embarks on new professional endeavors.” – Jim Beley, General Manager
“I’m excited to build on my own ideas – from the ground up – and to pursue concepts that I think are particularly relevant and integral to our community,” explained Crawford. Contributing to downtown Raleigh’s revitalization was another common interest that brought Holmes and Crawford together. “This is a critical moment in downtown Raleigh’s growth; with Scott Crawford on board, I’m convinced we can have a powerful impact,’ explained Holmes, who is also responsible for successfully revitalizing the Person Street Plaza development with independently owned businesses (Wine Authorities, Yellow Dog, and Person Street Bar).
Chef Scott Crawford joined The Umstead Hotel & Spa in 2009 and quickly redefined fine dining in the region with his refined modern regional American cuisine. Under Crawford’s direction the hotel and restaurant received the Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond awards for the first time. In 2012, Herons was named among the “101 Best Places to Eat in the World” in Newsweek. During his tenure, Crawford received 3 James Beard Foundation semi-finalist nominations for “Best Chef: Southeast,” and accolades in Art Culinaire, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Southern Living. No doubt, Crawford established The Umstead Hotel & Spa as one of the South’s premier fine dining destinations.
Crawford first earned Five-Stars from Forbes as Executive Chef of Woodlands Resort & Inn, before being hired away in 2006 as Executive Chef of The Georgian Room at The Cloister Hotel in Sea Island, Georgia. There, Crawford’s coastal Georgian cuisine also earned five stars from Forbes and critical praise; Esquire Magazine named it “Best New Restaurant” and Wine Spectator featured it saying, “Crawford’s style of haute cuisine is buoyed by regional flavors and based on produce gleaned from small, area farms…”
Crawford’s 80-seat restaurant at Standard Foods will reflect the progressive Southern cuisine he’s so well known for, in an effortless and much more casual way. “I’m really excited to have the freedom to cook the kind of food I like to eat every day” Crawford explained, saying, “it’s my take on comfort food.” Crawford’s menu will change regularly, and will tap into the exceptional ingredients found in the grocery, featuring items like chilled Strawberry Soup with yuzu and jalapeno, Fresh Bacon with Boiled Peanut Chowder, marble potatoes & leeks, Tomato Popsicles with spicy pickled okra, fried Rabbit with succotash, Pork Cheeks with pickled peppers & apricot mustard, and Southern inspired desserts too – puddings, pies and peach-ginger sorbet, for instance. The 20-seat bar will focus on wines by the glass, NC beers and craft cocktails. Seating will be available both indoors and out, and at a large communal table in the grocery for impromptu meals and monthly multi-course guest chef and wine dinners. An urban garden behind the restaurant will become a private event space, with a hearth oven.
This specialty “neighborhood” grocery will provide access to Crawford’s own top-of-the-line “pantry” and mis-en-place, offering everything from brown butter and duck fat to his brines, demi-glace and stocks. Additionally, Standard Foods will offer local produce from NC farms including neighboring Raleigh City Farm, feature whole animal butchery and thus, an extensive charcuterie selection of cured, smoked and fresh meats, and a NC-focused shellfish and seafood selection. Crawford will also raise the bar on prepared foods – offering whole house-smoked fish, innovative soups, salads and braised meats – and a wide selection of frozen custards and cookies. In effect, Standard Foods will be a well-stocked urban bodega – fit for a chef – coupled with a farmers market.
Nash Tavern – Crawford’s flagship modern American restaurant – featuring a private event space with dedicated kitchen – will open on Nash Square in 2015.
Nash Square Hospitality was founded by John Holmes and Chef Scott Crawford in 2014 to transform underserved urban neighborhoods with original food concepts, modern design and exceptional food. Standard Foods, a specialty grocery and restaurant, will open Fall 2014 in downtown Raleigh; Nash Tavern, in 2015. John Holmes, President of JT Hobby and Son, Inc., the parent company of Hobby Properties, began Hobby Investments, LLC to explore investment opportunities outside of real estate. JTH and Son began its operations in 1947 as a wholesale grocer, making Standard Foods a fitting starting point. Holmes is managing partner of Nash Square Hospitality Group, responsible for concept and brand development; Lanier Brooks is GM & Director of Special Events. Scott Crawford is the Executive Chef.