Here is Momo, owner of the iconic aperitivo bar Standard in Hamburg– we got to know a bit more about his business concept and journey of bringing the Italian aperitivo culture to Germany.
What is the concept behind Standard?
Inspired by the Italians’ passion for good drinks, good food, and above all, starting the evening together, we have set ourselves the goal of establishing the aperitivo culture in Hamburg. At Standard, we are uncompromising: our stuzzichini (“small plates” or “starter portions”) are available at regular intervals along with our drinks. And, most importantly, we directly serve them to our guests without them having to order.
How was the journey of bringing the Italian aperitivo culture with Standard in Hamburg?
Germans already drink hectoliters of aperitivo drinks such as Aperol Spritz, Campari Soda, or Prosecco. However, the aperitivo culture has slipped through the cracks when arriving in Germany. Here, the after-work beer is very common and mostly sipped at home. I mean, as a German, I would picture the image of an insurance agent consuming a beer (or worse, a Long Island Iced Tea) within his four walls— which is quite a nightmare to me, to be honest. Luckily, we were able to change that.
What were the main challenging aspects in this process?
In the beginning, we were worried that our hard-working Northern German guests would not even leave work so early. We were also afraid of whether people would purchase enough drinks or just come for the free meal. Fortunately, our fears have not come true at all: guests love our concept and perfectly understand that it can work only when they drink enough.
Could you tell us something more about your menu?
Unlike our drinks, our daily stuzzichini are rarely Italian classics. We use whatever is regionally and seasonally available. Incidentally, “stuzzichini” comes from the Italian word for toothpicks (stuzzicadenti), recalling the traditional way of eating these starters. Instead, most of our drinks are Italian classics. They usually have a bitter component (Mondino, Aperol, Campari, etc.). The main items are, of course, Spritz or Negroni, but we are constantly developing new versions of well-known cocktails using our homemade syrups and infusions.
What has been, in your opinion, the most iconic menu item served at your aperitivo bar?
Our Negroni served with a can of sardines or our vegan tramezzini…this is the aperitivo for champions.
Which ingredients you have the hardest time finding?
We limit ourselves to local and seasonal ingredients, therefore we have no problems with procuring goods. But the time of shopping is always a big topic.
What is your dearest memory about Italy and how did that impact your career?
The Italian hospitality and joy of life. This has probably been the most formative influence Italy has had on our concept.