Both Escape Hatch and Eater have reported that CampO Modern Bistro, which opened in August 2011, is now boarded up and locked down as of last night. Owners Miguel Vicéns and John Paul Valverde of Coevál say that Dallas didn’t latch onto their farm-to-fork focused restaurant as well as they’d hoped, and now the North Cliff eatery’s space is undergoing a redesign. The owners plan to open the new restaurant in 45 days.
“It’s bittersweet,” says Valverde. “Obviously, we know the amount of work that we’ve put into CampO. We’re not crossing our hands and saying we’re giving up. We’re seeing what a big mass of people loves versus what a small, wonderful crowd loves.”
Matt McCallister, the execuchef of CampO when it first opened, had just gotten off the phone with Valverde when I rang him up. Valverde broke the news to him today, so he hadn’t known that a new concept had been in the works for the last four weeks. “I hope whatever concept they’re working on they get success out of it,” he says. But right now, McCallister is focused solely on his baby, FT33, and he hasn’t been in the CampO loop lately. The owners say they just had lunch with the most current execuchef, Michael Ehlert, today, and the split has been amicable.
As for the new concept, Valverde and Vicéns are still kicking around ideas and finalizing all the details. Valverde says the new restaurant in the North Beckley space will have “casual, approachable cuisine.” They’re going to “shoot for having grade-A products just like (they) did at CampO.” Local ingredients, quality food, and the rest of the whole nine yards. From the sound of it, the concept is going to be completely different from CampO’s. The Coevál team wants to reach a bigger demographic, so presumably, its going to cater more to what the majority likes. And what the majority likes… well, isn’t CampO.