Houston, it’s time to salute your shorts. Kamp is in session.
The latest project from Prospect Park owners Mojeed Martins and Jonathan Reitzell, Kamp is a new bar and restaurant that’s now open in the former Beaver’s West space at 6025 Westheimer Rd. Reitzell tells CultureMap that the name came to him when he visited the space for first time.
“When we toured the building, I really felt like it had a cabin vibe,” Reitzell says. “It’s kind of secluded off the street. The name just came to mind. I really felt like Kamp is a great name for it.”
To transform Beaver’s into Kamp, Reitzell added pops of color with green chandeliers and bright yellow booths. The bar has been opened up for a better people watching, and a side room now boasts an elaborate mural. Outside, the area around the fire pit has been enhanced with a DJ booth and a large video screen.
“When you come into one room, [you think] ‘this is cool’ then you step outside and it’s another visual experience,” Reitzell says. “We wanted to give different feels for the camp look. We think it will give people different reasons to come back.”
The restaurant will focus on two types of food most Houstonians love, seafood and barbecue. To create the menu, Martins and Reitzell turned to chef Tony Ngyuen, best known for Viet-Cajun restaurant Saigon House and Xin Chao, his eagerly-anticipated collaboration with Masterchef winner Christine Ha.
“I really believe in what Jonathan and his team does,” Nguyen says. “Kamp to me is the essence of Houston. This is Houston food, influenced by Louisiana, a lot of barbecue, a lot of seafood.”
Executive chef Jason Hill will be responsible for day-to-day operations. The veteran Houston chef has an extensive resume that includes fine dining restaurant Gravitas, pioneering Houston food truck H-Town Streats, and Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Hill says he had been working on starting a steak night company when Nguyen approached him with an opportunity to cook the kind of Southern food he’s always loved as a chef.
“We looked at pictures on Instagram of things Jonathan has seen and talked about how we can put our twist on them,” Hill says. “For me, I want that Houstonian vibe. We’ll have giant plates with seafood and barbecue on them.”
The chefs adds that he’s developed two dishes that will “build the House of Kamp.” The first is mac and cheese that starts with a beer cheese base that gets loaded up with crawfish, crab, shrimp, and andouille sausage then topped with a little smoked Gouda and breadcrumbs. Nashville-style hot shrimp, a twist on Beaumont-style fried crab, is the other dish Hill predicts will be a top-seller.
In terms of barbecue, Kamp will likely eschew the traditional Texas trinity of plates loaded with sliced brisket, pork ribs, and sausage in favor of dishes that used smoked meats in other ways. Expect items such as smoked burgers (an homage to Guy’s Meat Market), loaded baked potatoes, and rib tacos.
Bartender Shan Liu (Weights + Measures) has created a menu of 10 cocktails that will rotate seasonal. Liu, who’s now a full time employee of the group, also created the eye-catching cocktails at Lost & Found, the Midtown patio bar the duo opened earlier this year. Hill will lend his expertise to Kamp’s beer selection, which will focus on Houston’s craft breweries.
Reitzell says Kamp will follow all recommended guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19. Staff will be wearing masks, hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the property, and they’ll be taking temperatures at the door. Prospect Park landed on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s
Wall of Shame Accountability Wall, a decision Reitzell disputes. He says that fire marshalls visited the sports bar without issuing any citations and that the line outside provided proof they were properly limiting capacity.
“I felt like it was unjustly done, but there’s nothing you can do about it at this point,” he says.