If you know Mudtown in Cahaba Heights, The Ridge in Rocky Ridge or Soho Social in Downtown Homewood, you know the concept. All three are neighborhood restaurants where families are more than welcome and there’s a full bar too. And if a regular or any customer makes a request for a menu item, owners Dave Horn and Taylor Hughes listen—and make changes so each becomes what the neighborhood wants. That’s the reason you can order corn dogs and a pretzel with queso at Soho Social, and it’s the reason the two men behind it are now opening a sister establishment next door to it in Homewood, Soho Standard. They are aiming to start serving dinner in October and will possibly add brunch and lunch in the months to come—if that’s what the neighborhood wants.
Where did the idea for a new restaurant come from?
Dave: Soho Social grew more than we expected in the last six months, and the size of the kitchen didn’t correlate. We mentioned it to our landlord, and we ended up leasing the whole space next door where Market Table was. In the process we got the kitchen space we needed for Soho Social and another dining room, so we figured we’d open another restaurant.
What’s the vision for the new restaurant space?
Taylor: I saw regulars at Soho Social and business owners and asked if we were to open up something else right here in Soho what they would want. With the departure of Michael’s there was mention of wanting a good steak and a place to get a good piece of fish. A lot of people say they love what we do up here at Soho Social, but sometimes they don’t want to bring the kids and they just want to go out for a nicer, quieter meal. Homewood doesn’t have a lot of options like that. You have Gianmarco’s and Jinsei that are flavor specific, but nowhere you can get upscale American food—steak, fish, pasta, crab cakes. Soho Social is more laid back, and at Soho Standard there is going to be a higher standard from a service standpoint and a culinary standpoint. We want it to still be approachable and relaxed but more refined.
What will be the look and feel inside?
Taylor: We are in the process of building a bar right now because there wasn’t one. It’s a gorgeous space with white subway tile and reclaimed wood already that we are keeping. The reclaimed wood is nice but it’s not formal or stuffy.
Dave: I hate telling people it’s “casual fine dining” but it is. We want it to be the kind of place you can come two to three times a week. It shouldn’t feel like a special occasion, it will just feel like special food.
Can you give us any menu previews?
Taylor: It’s all stuff we have never made before, and right now we are playing with recipes and taste testing to get them to the level we want them.
Dave: The goal is to have five appetizers, five entrees, a couple of salads and a couple of desserts, and it always grows. I like to keep it simple and grow after it opens, and Taylor will come up with like 12 things and we both learn to compromise. He wants to push the envelope creatively, and we’re asking people what they want on the menu.
What will we find at the bar?
Dave: We’ll have a full bar but it will mostly be premium liquors with a higher focus on wine and a select five to 8 beers, some local and some imports. We’ll have a big selection of scotch and bourbon and refined cocktails with house-made simple syrups and fresh juices.