The latest dining destination to open in Phoenix will wow you with rustic charm, kitschy details and truly remarkable grub. Camp Social officially opened it’s doors and I was lucky enough to score an invite to check it out.
I was impressed with all the fun themed details, from the camper converted into a hostess stand to the cocktails served in a thermoses – I swooned with all the thoughtful touches.
The place is large and open giving a feeling of the great outdoors. It’s vibe is low-key and carefree, making it an ideal place for post work-day cocktails or even dinner out with the family. Kids will LOVE it. Especially the game room, featuring a large leather couch, retro video games, shuffleboard and giant connect four games.
The food is definitely something you will want to write home about this camping trip. Familiar favorites are given a gourmet spin with off-the-wall “rustic” ingredients, like alligator sausage on the Everglade pizza or the elk gravy on the poutine.
The Everglade pizza was perfection, loaded up with that tasty sausage, hot peppers, roasted tomatoes, parmesan and parsley. It was familiar, yet unexpected with a meaty and spicy bite. Camp Social’s poutine is positively to die for – crispy crinkle fries are piled with cheese curds and the surprisingly delightful addition of deep fried pickle chips, which give it a vinegary tang that cuts through the robust elk gravy. It’s a must-try menu item that will not disappoint.
Another show stopper on the menu is the Cape Cod pizza. It was described to the group as clam chowder on a pizza and it was exactly that. Succulent pieces smoked clams, tender slices of potato, sweet corn, rosemary and a sprinkle of parmesan. It was everything I love about clam chowder without the gloopy, heaviness, adding it all to the pizza somehow lightened it all up.
Another honorable mention are the Black Pepper Biscuits & Cheese Gravy. The biscuits were hearty but not heavy, and seasoned perfectly. The gravy was rich, creamy and worthy of eating with a spoon once the biscuits were gone.
Everything I mentioned and all that I ate that night was incredible; but the dish that knocked my socks off was the Hobo Stew. Tender and delicious elk, rich brown gravy and melty cheese curds are presented in a tin foil packet and accompanied by grilled bread slices meant for dipping. Undoing the foil packets brought wafts of divine aromas. I couldn’t get enough and I didn’t want to share, but the Hobo Stew was the group favorite and was demolished in a matter of minutes. It’s considered an appetizer but eats like a meal. Order it as your entree so you don’t have to share.
Other memorable (and beautifully presented) items served that night were the Avocado Toast served on perfectly grilled bread with tomatoes, peanuts, and jalapeño dressing; Poke of the Day, fresh raw fish with black rice, spicy ice and fresh herbs; and Smokey Steak Tartare, served in a mason jar with a golden egg yolk and whisps of smoke infusing flavor and waiting to be released.
I am definitely not one for camping, but I can see myself frequenting Camp Social. I love a good theme and the Camp Social folks have nailed it on every level — decor, ambiance, cocktails and food. I was impressed and delighted with every new taste and discovery. I can’t wait to visit again with my family and look forward to happy hours on the patio once the weather cools down.
Camp Social is a welcomed addition to the Valley scene and I predict the place will be packed with happy campers very soon.
Camp Social is located at 6107 N. 7th St in Phoenix.
Disclaimer: I was invited to enjoy a meal at Camp Social as part of a media dinner. All opinions within this post are entirely my own.