“The challenge was to create a design concept for the restaurant and bar that is reinforced by our selection of authentic and natural materials and honest detailing.” (Photos ©Atlantic Archives)
When Standard Foods opened in downtown Raleigh’s Person Street Plaza this fall, owners John Holmes and Scott Crawford finally revealed their vision for an all-locally sourced, farm-to-table grocery store and restaurant, both of which celebrate “the food, farmers, and artisanal production methods of our region,” according to the website.
Within the Plaza, a redevelopment project that includes Raleigh City Farm, Yellow Dog Bakery, and other locally owned businesses, something else happened. Standard Foods’ physical space revealed The Raleigh Architecture Company’s interpretation of a shopping and dining experience that is at-once modern, urban, and artisanal.
A few months earlier, while the project was still under construction, John Holmes told the Independent Weekly, “We want the design to reflect what we’re trying to do with the food.” With that in mind, he and Crawford turned to Craig Kerins, AIA, and Robby Johnston, AIA, of The Raleigh Architecture Co (RACo), a local firm well known for custom retail designs and quality craftsmanship.
“The challenge,” Kerins said, “was to create a design concept for the restaurant and bar that is reinforced by our selection of authentic and natural materials and honest detailing.”
Ted Van Dyke of New City Design served as architect of record for the project with RACo as design architect for the front-of-the-house (areas open to the public) and the exterior.
Standard Foods is a 3000-square-foot grocery store, butcher shop, and 80-seat restaurant. The restaurant side features a 26-seat communal table and a 16-seat bar.
Outside, weathered steel slats trace the upper edge of the one-story, matte-charcoal exterior and provide shading for large windows that frame views of the Raleigh City Farm 20 yards away. Eventually the slats will also support plantings to add more shade and elements of the farm to the façade.
Part handcrafted, part sophisticated, the total design creates a distinctive identity for Standard Foods.
Inside, market and restaurant spaces flow into each other and the matte-charcoal reappears on background walls that enhance natural sapele wood and slate wall panels in the market, and heart pine tables and chairs in the restaurant. Metal refrigeration cases gleam under energy-efficient lighting, and accents of marble and leather add upscale elements to the simple, natural materials.
Part handcrafted, part sophisticated, the total design creates a distinctive identity for Standard Foods. Yet the colors and textures of the food – in the market or served on the tables – are the main attractions.
To ensure a community-oriented shopping experience, the aisles in the grocery store area are tight, reminiscent of an urban bodega. The spacing creates an intimate experience with the products. Benches between aisles encourage shoppers to linger.
“Most of us view grocery shopping as a chore,” observed architect Robby Johnston. “Our goal was to make this grocery store an experience – to give shoppers a feeling that’s fresh and friendly with an immediate perception of value.”
Inside, large windows frame views of the Raleigh City Farm 20 yards away.
Standard Foods is a joint venture between Holmes, the president of real estate firm Hobby Properties, and Crawford, the former chef of Herons at The Umstead in Cary and twice a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef in the Southeast. The men call their partnership The Nash Hospitality Group. For more information, go to standard-foods.com.
The Raleigh Architecture Co. is frequently commissioned for urban up-fits in existing buildings in downtown Raleigh. A few of the partners’ completed projects include Arrow Haircuts and NuvoNivo on Hargett Street, Runologie and State of Beer on Hillsborough Street, Trophy Brewing Company on Maywood Avenue and Crank Arm Brewing Company on West Davie Street.