Birmingham bistro The Stand is ready to strip-off those white tablecloths. Owner John Kelly tells Eater ditching the linens will be the first of several minor tweaks to the restaurant's ambiance. "People don't feel comfortable. That's what we're hearing," Kelly says. "People feel like 'Oh I'm underdressed.' No you're not. We know you're walking around town and shopping but we want you to feel comfortable coming in so you can still have a great meal and still do a fine dining experience but you don't have to do it in that setting."
Kelly says he got the idea after talking with other restaurateurs including Joe Vicari, owner of Andiamo Restaurant Group. Several of Vicari's restaurants recently underwent renovations for a more modern, linen-less look.
Kelly is also planning to switch out the restaurant's windows for panes with hinges. "When it gets nice everyone wants to be out on patios," he says. "We don't have that luxury . . . So, what we want to do is bring that outside in. It's pretty cool that you get that breeze, but you're not in the direct sunlight so when it rains you don't have to run inside or anything along those lines. Our patio technically is still open."
The changes will begin in July. Kelly also adds that the eatery is in the early stages of planning a partnership with master sommelier Ron Edwards. Edwards previously ran a wine program through Brian Polcyn's Forest Grill, but with the chef's recent departure the event was in need of a new home. "We're excited to take this endeavor on and promote it," says Kelly.