Doors Open At Old Standard

By Molly Rippinger
In Food

On Friday night, flocks of fried chicken fans got their first peek at Ben Poremba’s latest concept, Old Standard, which features classic Southern cuisine with a focus on fried chicken. The restaurant is located a mere half-block away from Poremba’s other Botanical Heights hotspots—ElaiaOlio and La Patisserie Chouquette (which Poremba co-owns with Simone Faure).

Image by Jennifer Silverberg.

Image by Jennifer Silverberg.

Old Standard is an ode to down-home cooking that features top-notch fried chicken. Poremba and his team have spent the last year transforming the historic building at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., which used to be a police horse stable, into a welcoming restaurant space. The décor is refined rural—oak wood paneling frames the ceiling and walls, vintage Edison light bulbs hang above the tables and an 1800s hunting rifle is mounted over the bar. Local craftsman, Ryan Giancola, custom designed the wooden tables and an autumn-inspired mural by area photographer Greg Rannells covers the back wall.

The menu is dominated by Southern classics like house-made pickles, deviled eggs, Yankee cornbread, smothered greens and the main event—fried chicken, available in a la carte, half or whole chicken orders. The birds are specially sourced from a family-owned, Amish farm in Indiana where they are fed an all-natural, vegetarian diet and are not given hormones or antibiotics. Poremba and his crew spent months researching the right recipe, visiting over 500 restaurants across the country and trying countless orders of fried chicken. Chris DiMercurio, Old Standard’s chef, and Poremba developed a recipe that involves brining the birds before battering and cooking them in a pressure fryer. The process results in the ideal balance of a crispy skin that gives way to a moist, flavorful meat.

Diners can wash down all that fried chicken goodness with one of Old Standard’s 50 American whiskeys ranging from straight bourbons to single malts. Cocktails include Southern classics like sazeracs and mint juleps, while non-alcoholic beverages include house-made sodas and lemonades. Canned beer comes by the bucketful or guests can opt for Urban Chestnut’s Pilsner on draft, which was brewed specially for Old Standard.

Open Monday through Saturday from 4:30pm-midnight and Sundays from 11am-8pm. 1621 Tower Grove Ave., Botanical Heights, 314.899.9000.

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