More sad news for the local restaurant scene and for discerning food lovers: Campagnolo Restaurant and Camp Upstairs are closing for good.
The Main Street eatery and bar right above suspended operations when Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered dining establishments to do so, and the pandemic’s ensuing financial toll led to the owners’ heart-breaking decision not to reopen.
Specializing in Italian-inspired fare, Campagnolo was founded 12 years ago by Robert Belcham, Tim Pittman, and Tom Doughy. They own the building but still couldn't see how they could survive amid the new reality.
Chef Belcham is an icon in the local dining industry, currently serving as the president of the Chef’s Table Society. He got incredible experience early on in his career under chef Thomas Keller at French Laundry before taking the reins at the former C restaurant. A proponent of all things local, he started his own line of restaurants in 2007 with Fuel (later rebranded Refuel Restaurant & Bar). Campagnolo Restaurant, Campagnolo ROMA, and Campagnolo Upstairs followed.
Belcham has other projects in the works. He’s a partner in Granville Island’s Popina Canteen (set in a shipping container) and its forthcoming sister spot in the Net Loft, Popina Cantina.
But we sure are going to miss the Camps.
Belcham and Pittman—who have written the names of some of their many devoted customers on the restaurants’ boarded-up doors—announced the closure on Facebook:
In 2008 during the biggest economic downturn of our generation, Tom Doughty, Tim Pittman and Robert Belcham built a regionally specific Italian restaurant focusing on pizza, pasta, salumi, great service and delicious wine. We accomplished that goal and built a loyal and amazing customer base that have been coming regularly for almost 12 years.
Now in 2020, we are left with the sad news that we will not be opening again.
In a perfect world, we would give notice to everyone, to give you all a chance to see us one last time. Well, the world has certainly set us on a different path and we are not able to do so.
Our customers are the life blood of this restaurant and we have had some amazing people cross our doorway, there are far too many to mention all by name here- Norm & Nedra, Garnet & Ailsa, Vern & Maureen, Rodney, Bob, Robert & Karen, to name a very few.. the list goes on forever. Our customers are like our family and we will miss them all. So many great celebrations, first dates, first kisses, birthdays, there have been weddings, special dinners, guest chefs and holiday festivities.
We would also like to thank all of the amazing staff we have had and that helped build and maintain our success over the last 12 years. Alvin Pillay our opening chef and Giovanni Girardino our opening bar manager, these two set the tone for our achievements and getting us out of the starting gate so strong. There are so many, Ted, Large, AJ, Nathan Lowey, JC, Paul Crouteau, Sarah Wilby, Sarah Wheeler, Sarah Jensen, Ioana, Jenny, Melissa, Turley, Scope, Big Cat, Ben, Mallory, James Shipton, Peter, Jordan Caverly, Colin, Bowes, Juicy, Matt Martin, Kumi, Brian, Greg, Tom, Jane... and so many more to name. Without these great cooks, servers, bartenders and managers our guests would never have understood our goal of serving great local food in a casual environment.
We look forward to seeing you in the future at new restaurants, hopefully we can make you become a regular guest once again.
Stay Safe out there.
Robert Belcham and Tim Pittman