Tad Curtz: Not Your Standard Chef

by Borderstan.com November 8, 2011 at 11:00 am 4,296 1 Comment

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Standard BBQ chef and co-owner Tad Curtz cleans the grill in preparation for an evening at his 14th Street NW eatery and beer garden. Curtz says it’s all “just part of owning a small business.” (Luis Gomez Photos)

Read Alejandra Owen’s July 8 review of Standard BBQ.

The Stats

Name: Tad Curtz
Restaurant: Co-owner and chef at Standard BBQ, 1801 14th Street NW
Age: 31
Hometown: Kingstown, NY
Current Residence: DC
Tattoo Count: 0

The Q&A

Borderstan: What brought you to D.C? How long have you been here?
Curtz: I moved to Logan Circle in 2003 to work for an organization that invented simple technologies used for agricultural production and processing. Our work was focused in Africa and Asia.

Borderstan: Tell us about your previous history as a chef and experience in the restaurant business?
Curtz: I worked at 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria for four years. I certainly was not a “chef” there. I did a little bit of everything that needed to be done, including some cooking and a lot of serving as the staff handyman. There is an amazing amount of stuff that breaks in a restaurant.

Borderstan: What’s the toughest part about owning your own business… how many hours a week do you log?
Curtz: There are a million things to keep track of, and I’m really poorly organized. Luckily my business partner, Dave Rosner, takes care of lots of that kind of stuff and helps keep me on track. It’s not like working for someone else and knowing you are getting a paycheck at the end of the week. It’s draining to constantly worry about keeping the business afloat. We’ve been really lucky to have people keep showing up… and I work a lot of hours.

Borderstan: What was it like trying to get the permits and licenses to open? How long did the total process take?
Curtz: It took a while. This was our first project, and it was a learning experience. We had a lot of help along the way. I always found that the folks responsible for issuing permits and licenses at DCRA and ABRA were very patient and happy to help us out.

Borderstan: Favorite dish on your menu?
Curtz: I like the “Texas short rib” — a gigantic beef rib that’s dry rubbed and smoked for 16 hours. It’s totally delicious, but I just get a kick out of seeing the look on someone’s face when a dinosaur bone shows up at their table.

Borderstan: Favorite dish on someone else’s menu you admire?
Curtz: The Filetti at Una Pizza Napolitana.

Borderstan: Advice for home cooks or folks who are afraid to get into the kitchen?
Curtz: Always taste whatever you’re making before you serve it to someone else. Salt and pepper will get you a long way. Practice. 

Borderstan: Worst kitchen injury, any scars?
Curtz: I cut the tip of my finger off on a meat slicer.

Borderstan: Favorite place to eat in Borderstan, other than your own restaurant?
Curtz: Thai Xing.

Borderstan: Favorite joint to get a drink?
Curtz: Tabard Inn.

Borderstan: You have a whole day off — what do you do?
Curtz: Skip town.

Borderstan: What’s your comfort food?
Curtz: Wood-fired pizza.

Bordestan: What do you like best about the Logan Circle neighborhood?
Curtz: The vibes are incredible!


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