Matt Ralph isn’t setting out to make the trendiest conceptual burger you’ve ever had. Instead, he’ll use hand-ground beef to create a modern take on the traditional hamburger at The Standard, his new hamburger and hot dog stall in The Pizitz Food Hall.
The Standard is Ralph’s first personal venture, but his culinary resume is long and varied. After spending nearly a decade in Boston, he returned to Birmingham where he helped open and operate Hotbox and Wooden Goat, along with serving as station chef and interim chef de cuisine at Frank Stitt’s Bottega.
Before this, Ralph fell in love with the cooking techniques and flavors of Southeast Asian food found in the Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood. He worked on honing his craft in various kitchens including Kathy Sidell’s Metropolitan Club & The Met Back Bay, Todd English’s Olives, Nine Zero Hotel’s KO Prime, Harry’s Bar and Grill, Lord Hobo, and Summer House. And before that, he attended Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Charleston, South Carolina, and gained experience in the kitchen at the acclaimed Magnolias.
In fact, his decision to move back to Birmingham, the city where he lived from age 18 until culinary school, was based on a personal desire to eventually open his own restaurant without partners. And now that’s what is happening with his burger and hot dog concept, coming soon to a former downtown department store near you.