Camp Fire, opened in August of this year, is a natural extension of Jeremy Stanton’s artisanal butcher shop, The Meat Market. Located in a space attached to the well-known Great Barrington butchery, Camp Fire is a family-friendly restaurant that specializes in classic American favorites, using fresh and local ingredients, at a wallet-friendly price.
I spoke with chef and manager, Tom Lee, and he was quick to tell me that the menu was originally designed foremost to provide a menu for families with children that allows an opportunity to create a mix-and-match, fixed-price meal of real food suitable for discerning young palates.
But to say Camp Fire is a “kids’ restaurant” would be a disservice to the majority of the menu, which is sophisticated and rustic. In order to get a feel for the full menu, however, you will need to go to the restaurant, as their website seems to be incomplete. True to its name, Camp Fire has recreated inside the idea of dining while camping outside. Half of the dining room is canopied by white canvas, draped to feel as if you are dining in a tent. Hanging from the ceiling are large, white paper lanterns that remind me of moons. A canoe is tucked up in one corner and several arrows are suspended from the ceiling, all headed towards an archery target painted on the wall behind the bar. Hanging above the open kitchen is a large photograph of an evening campfire scene. Corrugated metal sheets face the bar and the kitchen area, and a few artificial pine trees are tucked in here and there.
The service can be a bit spotty and disorganized, but it was a minor inconvenience overshadowed by the food. With the exception of the ketchup in the condiment bottles on the tables, everything is house-made. They also offer a nice selection of well-priced beer and wine.
My husband and I started our meal with their Green Salad of fresh greens, sourced locally from a farm in Sheffield, and heirloom tomatoes. Lightly dressed with a well-balanced, fresh vinaigrette that let the delicacy of the greens and the earthy flavor of the tomatoes shine through.
The star of our starter round, though, was the Mac-n-Cheese. Prepared in a small cast iron skillet, it was a luscious blend of penne pasta, cheddar cheese and cream, served bubbling hot, with just the right amount of toasted cheese on the top. Comforting, satisfying and perfectly sized for sharing.
For our entrees, we had to try the famous Meat Market Burger as well as the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast. The 1/2 pound, grass-fed beef burger was juicy, well-seasoned and “meaty,” and grilled exactly to order.
It was topped with melted cheddar cheese that dripped down the sides, pickles, and garlic aioli sauce, spread edge-to-edge, on the top of the challah bun. The fried chicken breast consisted of large chunks of boneless breast, seasoned with cumin, lightly breaded and fried.
The chicken was both crispy and tender, and accompanied by their barbeque sauce for dipping. It was served with sautéed kale, and a tangy mustard-dressed slaw of Savoy cabbage.
Both the burger and the fried chicken came with a side of hand-cut Russet potato fries, which were excellent.
For dessert, we shared the Sour Cream Maple Cheesecake with Walnuts. The cheesecake was light and fluffy and reminiscent of a crustless, Italian-style cheesecake. It was served on a pool of maple caramel and salted toasted walnuts, and was the perfect ending to our meal. For the food especially, I highly recommend giving Camp Fire a try!
389 Stockbridge Rd.
Great Barrington • (413) 644-5559
campfiregb.com • Monday & Tuesday Closed, Wednesday through Friday
11 a.m.to 9 p.m., Saturday & Sunday
8 a.m.to 9 p.m.
Fixed-price meal $9
Green Salad $7
Meat Market Burger $13
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast $19
Cream Maple Cheesecake $5