Mediterranean on Market: Camino gets real
Camino, which took over the Il Cani Pazzo space next to the Vinegar Hill Theater on Market Street, has, to borrow from its Spanish meaning, traversed the “long road” from concept to reality, quietly opening last week. While they are still waiting on their ABC license, co-owner Sean Thomas says the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is now serving locally-sourced dinner cuisine Wednesday through Sunday.
Thomas, an aspiring filmmaker who planned on doing a documentary on the local food movement called Dirt to Dinner, says he decided to bring some of the same ideas for his film to a real live restaurant venture, serving up locally-sourced food inspired by the rustic style of cooking in Southern France, Italy, and Spain. At first, he says, he planned on operating a food cart on the Downtown Mall, but when he tossed the idea around with partner Drew Hart, the two decided to ditch the wheels and find a space.
“The food will focus intensely on traditional regional techniques and ingredients while maintaining a clean modern approach to presentation,” says Thomas, “We’re working hard to source as much product locally as possible in balance with imported authentic European ingredients. For example, there is no such thing as local extra virgin olive oil, but there is an abundance of locally produced cheeses that well suit European flavor profiles.”
To help make that a reality, Thomas and Hart hired chef Matt Turner of Swank’s on Main in Kilmarnock, who also did a stint locally at the now closed Jarman’s Gap in Crozet, and who will be “working with local producers to create a soulful menu of heartfelt artisanal Mediterranean cuisine,” says Thomas.
“Seasonally permitting, Matt intends to make trips to the Chesapeake Bay to retrieve natural treasures such as crabs, sea trout, rock fish, and sugar toads,” says Thomas.
In the Spring, Thomas says they also plan to expand the restaurant’s small outdoor seating area. In the meantime, dinner and a movie are once again alive and well on Market Street.