Bar Exam: Outdoor feel inside Campfire Lounge
By Autumn thatcher
Special to The TribuneFirst published Apr 05 2013 01:01AM
The idea for the new Campfire Lounge came to owners Haylen LaToree and Seth Radford while "lounging by a campfire."
"It’s what we like to do. When we have a rare day off, we’re camping," said LaTorre.
The couple previously owned Salt Lake City’s Bayleaf Cafe on Main Street. They opened the downtown restaurant n 2009 with the intention of creating a "small mom-and-pop" place for locals.
But LaTorre says that the opening of City Creek "changed the whole scope" of their neighborhood bar idea.
With their lease coming to an end, the owners decided to close Bayleaf — but keep the state liquor license — and open Campfire. It’s located in the space that used to be Black Widow Cafe.
The decor makes guests feel as if they are escaping the city with blue ceilings painted to resemble the midnight sky, a bar top with a blue-pebbled "river" running through it and fish tank built into the liquor shelves that houses four fish named after the "Golden Girls."
A pool table is the first thing you see when you walk in. It sits in front of a few arcade games and a dartboard. In the main room, guests can choose a table by the window or a spot at the bar with a view of the kitchen.
The signature menu item at Campfire Lounge is the Hobo Dinner ($5-$9), which is just like you made it as a kid: carrots, onions and zucchini wrapped in tinfoil with your choice of chicken, sirloin, grilled trout or tofu. Once wrapped in foil, the dinner is cooked on the grill.
Other menu items include homemade Ramen noodles, tater tots and the Elvis sandwich ($5.50), a deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich topped with honey and bacon.
Natalie Madsen, who frequents Campfire Lounge, said she keeps coming back for the friendly and relaxed atmosphere and the food. "I get tater tots all of the time because what bar can you have tater tots at? But my favorite is the hobo dinner."
For dessert order s’mores or something off the "cocktails for camping" selection of the menu. There you’ll find drinks like the s’mores-tini, trail mix or happy camper. Order a cocktail from the "Goody Two Shoes" section and 10 percent of your purchase price will go to a local charity. LaTorre said the bar will pick a different charity each month.
Kent Blackwood predicts that Campfire Lounge will quickly become a premiere spot.
"I have about 20 years of bartending experience and this place is going to be happening," he said. "It’s a nice little local neighborhood pub."