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The Standard Social Market is one of the newest additions to the growing Downtown Huntsville landscape. What you’ll find here is some sort of magical hybrid of café, bar, meat market, wine shoppe, and retail storefront. I love how ambitious this concept is because it reminds me of a store in my hometown of Savannah, GA where you could always count to find the best quality meats and cheeses while dining on their gourmet, comfort food offerings. Unfortunately, the store had closed its doors for good when I visited home last. Imagine my excitement when I see the concept revisited in Huntsville!
While The Standard incorporates multiple business concepts within one, I didn’t feel like it was done just for the sake of being different. Owner and Chef Erick Luther, along with wife Stephanie, execute each idea seamlessly with a quality-first approach. I was amazed at the quality of the fresh meats which appear to be sourced as locally as possible. As you make your way through the aisles of artisanal market goods and wine, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the selection all while realizing you can go to the bar and grab a cocktail.
Of course, you’ll have a hard time only shopping. The open kitchen concept ensures that you’ll see gourmet dishes being brought out every minute to the busy café that adorns the front of the store. Being a graduate of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas, Chef Erick effortlessly marries classic Southern cuisine with farm-to-table overtones. Exactly how it should be.
It should be said that The Standard caters to all times of day with distinct Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Weekend Brunch menus. This means you’ll get to try a new experience each time you go. I happened to arrive for an early weekend lunch which meant I got to check out Brunch.
Here’s the kind of food offerings you can expect:
Shrimp and Grits
This version of the dish was perfect for the cool day. A classically Creole/Cajun version, you’ll find plump Shrimp and Andouille Sausage covered in a dark gravy. The brown, peppery roux (flour/butter mixture that serves as the base of the gravy) is a tasty backbone that showcases the stewed tomatoes and onions. I love how this spin reminds me of a gumbo. As if we need an excuse to serve anything on grits. If you order this as a brunch option, try pairing with a French Bordeaux or Sauvignon Blanc.
Pork Belly BLT
I’ll admit – I was a bit skeptical of this rendition of the classic BLT. Sometimes certain ingredients (i.e. Pork Belly) become trendy and recipe creators look for any excuse to utilize them, even if it results in imperfect execution. My skepticism was met with a lunchtime option that took a familiar sandwich to a place of adventure.
The replacing of Bacon with Pork Belly flips this sandwich on it’s head while still staying in familiar territory. What I liked is how the Pork Belly was fried for a crisp crust, yet was thick enough to still have a soft, meaty center. The toasted, fresh baked bread is hearty enough to withstand the weight of the Pork Belly but not overly thick to distract from the inner ingredients. Add fresh sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, and some Dijon mustard to give some variety to a sandwich we all grew up to love.
What I like most about The Standard is knowing that I’ll be back to try each menu. You better believe that I’ll be back to try dinner soon. If you’re a foodie, looking for the perfect gift for one, or desire an environment where casual meets classy, The Standard Social Market is a must visit!
Growing up between the Washington DC suburbs and Savannah, GA, Brett always found music and food to bridge the gap between the two worlds. Musician, US Army veteran, Software Engineer, dedicated home chef, Brett has worn a variety of proverbial hats and is used to traveling outside his comfort zone in pursuit of new experiences. Whether studying abroad in Greece or deploying to Afghanistan, food and the people involved in the process, became a way to relate to his ever-changing world view.
While an engineering career may have led Brett from Tampa, FL to Huntsville, more importantly, there was a flourishing food scene to explore. After discovering most of his coworkers had no idea what their city had to offer, he started a food blog to catalog his experiences and share recipes that demystify culinary techniques. He has found an audience in fellow foodies and industry professionals alike.
Aside from food, Brett also enjoys building his vinyl collection, sipping craft beer and whiskey, and building websites for small business owners. He loves exploring the city through the stories told by its long-time locals.
Follow Brett (RocketFuel HSV) on Instagram and Facebook.