Food’s Fun at Sonora’s Standard Pour
By Antoinette May Herndon
The answering machine blinked impatiently. It was a message from Kathie Luke: “Have I got a restaurant for you!”
Well, I really perked up my ears. Kathie and her husband, Charles, are foodies from way back. Charles is a graduate of the Culinary Academy in Columbia and Kathie hails from New Orleans, a gastronomic Mecca if there ever was one. When either of them says something’s good, I listen.
Kathie’s discovery was Standard Pour, a newly opened restaurant in the Standard township of Sonora. When she told me that the owners were Eric and Claudia Davis, I knew I wanted to investigate.
Some people just know how to do things right. Eric and Claudia are two of them.
Ten years ago the couple opened the highly popular Diamondback Grill on Sonora’s main street. It became one of my favorite restaurants—and everyone else’s. Most any evening one can spot a line snaking its way out the door and down the street. Diamondback is that kind of popular.
Most people will agree that the restaurant’s success secret is grill food with a difference. Diamondback dishes are high quality, fresh and full of surprises. Good food reflects grounded sensibilities. Back ribs barbecued Asian style top the menu at $14.95. Everything else hovers comfortably between $8 and $10.
Everything is good, but nothing’s pretentious. Diamondback dishes don’t take themselves too seriously
and neither do the customers. This is a downtown restaurant where lawyers, ranchers and tourists sit elbow to elbow at the counter munching contentedly on half pound burgers made from locally raised grass-fed beef.
But now Eric and Claudia have a new baby. The restaurant is located in what used to the Lumber Yard Brewery in Standard. How appropriate to name it “Standard Pour.”
Standard itself has plenty of history. Once the site of a Mi-wuk village, it was ranchland during the Gold Rush era, home to Jim Lyons, a murderous bandit. Standard Lumber Company acquired the land in 1909 and in turn sold it to Pickering Lumber.
By the 1920’s Standard was a company own, with Pickering owning the homes, stores, school and hospital. Workers were paid in Pickering script. Though the town declined and is only now undergoing a revitalization, mill operations continue in the area.
The combination of Chef Davis’s expertise and all that history following Kathie’s recommendation, made me eager to check out Standard Pour for myself. In less than a week Charles and I were rendezvousing there with the Lukes.
I liked what I saw instantly. High ceilings, old wood floors, lively colors and lots of people clearly enjoying themselves. The food menu was small but creative and most inviting. Charles Luke spotted a favorite from Diamondback, the free-range Table Mountain burger, ($12) and went for it. Smoked mozzarella, braised onions and
peppers, too. Yum!
“My” Charles chose Creamy Homemade Mac and Cheese featuring Fiscalin Farm’s Cheddar and San Joaquin Gold cheeses. ($9). Kathie ordered the Standard Cobb with Diestel Smoked Turkey, Applewood Bacon, and Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese. ($10).
Everything looked fabulous but the menu highlight for me was the Spicy Indian Eggplant Sandwich with Jalapeno, Cilantro, Ginger and Peanut Spread, Cumin Yogurt Raita and Pickled Cucumber. ($10) I loved it.
We were happy about everything: food, service, price. Clearly Eric and Claudia Davis have another winner on their hands. Standard Pour differs only from Diamondback in its emphasis on beer. There are 14 varieties on tap. (A 20 oz. pint goes for $7-8.) The menu is definitely beer -friendly.
Standard Pour is not a place to go for a cheap meal. It’s a reasonably priced opportunity for a great meal. Eric says it well: “Success is in the details.”
VITALS: Standard Pour is located at 19040 Standard Rd., Sonora. Phone: 532-7687. Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a/m to 8 p.m. Credit cards accepted.
Standard Pour , Sonora’s newest restaurant, looks like fun and is.
The exterior of Sonora’s Standard Pour is as inviting as the menu.
Vanessa Schoper is a friendly and efficient server at Standard Pour in Sonora.