By Lynette Carrington
Dare I say that North Central Phoenix is in the middle of a restaurant renaissance! There have been many wonderful restaurants opening in the area, but perhaps none is more fun, eclectic and unique as Camp Social. At Camp Social you eat inside, but in an outdoor setting and with a menu that will have you celebrating the days of childhood camp. This is a destination restaurant that is fun for the entire family, friends’ night out, or even a special occasion. Yes, you will even dine under “the stars” courtesy of some special light effects.
Where Outside Meets Inside
Just a few short months ago, Camp Social opened to much fanfare. There is simply nothing else like it in the Valley. Think summer camp, campfires and vintage trailers and you’ll have the beginning taste of the Camp Social life. The entire restaurant is set up to resemble an outdoor campground, complete with hanging tire swings at the bar, giant Igloo coolers that serve as tables on the outdoor patio, wood carved counters, camp games and even vintage trailers that have been repurposed as guest booths. I’ve never seen such a fun and interactive way to enjoy a restaurant. But the fun doesn’t stop with the outdoor décor. It spills over the ridiculously unique menu, too!
This is not your ordinary restaurant menu. Rather, this menu includes all kinds of entrees and side dishes that feature camp food gone upscale. Plus, you won’t have to deal with wild animals, inclement weather or wild animals!
The shared plates are called “Trail Snacks” at Camp Social. Choices include roasted red pepper hummus with wood grilled toast, fried boneless chicken with camp sauce, meatballs, pretzel bites with cheddar dip, smoked steak tartare, spicy Korean buffalo wings, pork rinds with cheese, hobo stew, crispy lam scrumpets and spice pork shanks. But to truly appreciate this food correctly, order the fried pickles with French fry poutine, cheddar curds and elk gravy. See? I told you the menu was superbly unique! The meatballs are pretty darn tootin’ tasty, too.
Salads are listed under “Foliage & Forages.” Salad choices include Wood grilled romaine Caesar, avocado toast, summer salad, house made sausage salad and roasted beets. The roasted beets salad is wonderful, but if beets aren’t your thing, try the house made sausage salad; a Camp Social take on a German potato salad with sausage.
The “Bays and Lakes” section of the menu includes dry chili flake shrimp and fries, camp mussels and tune poke. Over at “Skillets & Pots” you’ll find wood grilled trout, orecchiette pasta with duck leg confit, a fish fry, ravioli with pistachio and pesto and wood grilled aged rib-eye. There is also a large selection of pizzas on the menu featured under “National Park Pizza.”
Sandwiches featured under “Bannock and Bread” include a fabulous chargrilled camp burger, grilled chicken breast, aged rib-eye sandwich, fried Pacific rock fish, camp sausage sandwich and a bbq beef brisket that is to die for in the world of camp-inspired food.
Side dishes are referred to as “Sticks and Twigs” and include baked beans, camp fire mashed potatoes, cauliflower gratin, corn on the cob, fried pickles, French fries and fried Brussels sprouts. I would personally recommend the camp fire mashed potatoes. You can never go wrong with that side dish and the Camp Social version is delish!
Finally, what would camp be without s’mores? But, you’ve never had s’mores quite like these! Camp Social delivers a whole “s’mores camp set-up” to your table, complete with house made marshmallows and grahams, Hershey’s chocolate bars and even a tiny “campfire.” Your tiny tabletop campfire will be the highlight of your meal as you and your dessert-minded crew make your very own s’mores, Camp Social style!
Weekend brunch at Camp Social is nothing short of a special event. Brunch features such fun camp menu fare as crispy pulled pork scramble, DJ steel cut oatmeal, “Homer” doughnut breakfast sandwich, buttermilk biscuits and much more. Sit inside, sit outside on the patio or at the bar, you’ll love the vittles the staff is dishing at Camp Social.
Of course, you’ll find great wine, beer and craft cocktails. Oh, they’ve also got you covered with boxed wine. Yes, really. There were two particular cocktails that I loved. The first was the Kraken kolada with Kraken black rum, coconut, lime, pineapple and mint. The second was the very “camp-esque” firefly with St. Georges green chili vodka, Barros intense ginger, lime and blueberry.
Some other fun facts about Camp Social that you should know:
· You can grab an icy Otter Pop out of the freezer on the way out the door.
· The motorbike perched on the indoor roof is a 1972 Honda 50.
· You can buy a whole bucket of Coke bottles.
· Camp Social sells some serious signature swag.
· There are daily “infusions” with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Just ask a server!
· Camp Social serves Green River Soda and IBC root beer in bottles.
· Get a mystery shot and a beer for only $7. What is it? It’s a mystery, so just go with it!
Friday and Saturday nights boast a DJ in the hostess booth for an entirely new vibe. Also, don’t miss the fun outdoors-inspired games in the back room that include Jenga, cornhole and much more! Camp Social is located at 6107 E. 7th St., Phoenix. Visit www.campsocial.com or call (480) 750-0506 for additional information.