When The Standard Plate & Pour opens in New Albany on Monday, July 1, the goal will be to greet customers with value, according to the owners.
Beau Kerley and Tim Smith, who also are partners in 812 Pizza Company and colleagues at Crescent Hill Craft House, bring quality Americana fare with fresh flair in a place where you can also get a burger and fries for 10 bucks.
Located in the former home of Gospel Bird, the restaurant also will make use of an upgraded back patio that includes a silver Airstream trailer that’ll be used as a bar, serving canned and bottled beer, with plenty of seating and space for live music on weekends.
And the owners are quick to point out that the name “The Standard” isn’t a superlative of any kind, but rather a reference to a New Albany newspaper that began in the mid-1800s called the Daily Ledger-Standard. They even printed a few copies of full pages from an issue of the paper to frame and hang on the restaurant’s walls.
The restaurant’s logo even uses the same font as the newspaper’s masthead.
“We were just trying to connect the old history of the town,” Kerley says. “We also want people to come in and talk about today’s news.”
Aesthetically, the space remains much the same as when it was inhabited by Gospel Bird, with architectural salvage popping out against exposed brick walls and tin ceilings.
The original metal-top tables have since been covered with black vinyl to help mute some of the echoes and give the place a cozier feel.
As for the menu, Smith succinctly says: “We’re not really reinventing the wheel here. If you start with a good product, you don’t have to tweak it much.”
Look for double-fried, vodka-battered chicken thighs — makes them super crispy — alongside favorites like the house club, made with bacon jam, the jambalaya risotto and the sauce-box steak and egg, which will include marinated skirt steak with Korean barbecue sauce, kimchi and a sunny-side egg over basmati rice.
Appetizers include items like house-made tomato soup, Sloppy Joe dip, pub mussels and black bean hummus. Several salads are available, including a classic Caesar and the Powerhouse, made with kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, radicchio and more with a Ruby Red French dressing.
In addition to the club, sandwiches will include a variety of po’ boys with choice of shrimp, oysters or andouille sausage, Roast Beast (yes, thin-sliced roast beef), an Impossible burger and a house burger called the Juicy Lucy. The latter is a butter-basted 8-ounce burger, dressed, with a creole remoulade on a toasted challah bun.
It’s a signature dish in part because you will get a Juicy Lucy with house fries or house-made pork rinds for $10. Each of the sandwiches on the menu will come with a choice of either side, rather than tacking on an extra $3 or $4 per. An upcharge is only made for sides like spicy Grippo’s-style fries cooked in beef fat, white cheddar polenta or any of the other premium sides.
Entrees, besides the jambalaya and steak and egg dish, include blackened chicken, a door-knocker ribeye prepared with house-made Worcestershire sauce over potatoes and eggs, and sorghum-braised pork cheeks. Sandwiches average about $12, while entrees start at $16. Bread pudding and sweet honey chips are available for dessert, while kids can choose one of four items, such as grilled cheese or a burger, for $6.
In short, The Standard hopes to offer quality food with fresh, often local ingredients at a reasonable price. As Kerley puts it, if you want to go all out, you have upscale options, but “if you have $15 and just want a burger and a beer, you can do that.”
He adds, “We don’t want to wow you with the price, we want to wow you when the food comes to the table.”
Interestingly, the decision to open another restaurant was one the partners made in pretty short order once they heard the spot was open and took a tour with owner Steve Resch. That first visit was about three months ago.
“We came in on a Friday,” Smith recalls. “Beau texted me Monday morning a picture with the key in his hand.”
“You texted back, ‘I guess I need to come up with a menu,’ ” Kerley says.
At the bar, craft cocktails and craft beer will be mainstays, with wine by the glass or bottle also featured.
The dining room and bar seats just under 100 people, while the patio seats 35 to 40. Kerley says they’ve hired about 30 people to start with. A Sunday brunch menu is tentatively planned for fall.
The Standard Plate & Pour, located at 207 E. Main St. in New Albany, will be open 11 a.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday (kitchen closes at 10); 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday (kitchen closes at 11); and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday.