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Changes at Camden’s

Camden’s Dogtown Market owner Andy Howell is looking to make some changes at his evolving restaurant. One of the early adopters to make the move to Manchester, Camden’s has a loyal following and great Friday night wine tastings. Andy reached out with the following letter to notify us of the changes:

“It’s been a rough couple of months here at Camden’s and we’ve made a couple of changes that I thought you clever media types should know about.

A prized employee, friend, and front of the house face of three and a half years suddenly died at the beginning of September, leaving our family of customers and workers devastated. We closed for the weekend out of respect and shock, then realized we didn’t have feet to fill those big shoes the following week. Then my sous chef decided she couldn’t take the sadness of working here after the loss, and due to a slew of catering contracts through the month of September, it just made sense to close for dinner for a little while.

During that dinnerless month I had time to reconsider the mission of Camden’s, which has always been in regular flux, having been born from a failed noodle bar and reworked to meet what seemed to be the needs of the changing neighborhood-I wanted to call it Lemonade, but I didn’t have a dog named Lemonade. With word on the street of another market/café getting ready to open a few blocks away, and my growing discontent with making hamburgers (in 20 years of owning restaurants in RVA, I never previously made a hamburger or owned a deep fryer), I decided to try something that Richmond hasn’t really seen…or at least not in my 33 years here…a full time prix fixe menu.

For the last month we have been offering a constantly changing, three-course dinner menu for $20. We’ve fine-tuned the selections, gone through a couple of false starts on staff, but seem to be leveling off with a tasty and tight-knit plan.  The lunch and brunch menus will remain consistent (though the special offerings are getting a bit more adventurous), and we still have the market running as per usual. When Michael and Laura Hild’s Butterbean Market & Café opens, I plan to gear more towards being a Fine Wine & Beer Shop/Restaurant and let them sell the toilet paper.

I’m attaching a copy of the latest dinner menu so you’ll better understand the concept but please feel free to bother me with questions.

Also, we’re doing the Orphan’s Thanksgiving Dinner again (5th Annual!) wherein parties of 3 or fewer may come and gorge on house-made traditional fare from 3-7 for $22 per person. Catch phrase, “If you have four people, make your own damned turkey.”’

The new Camden’s menu can be seen here: Dinner Fall ’17.

2 thoughts on “Changes at Camden’s

  1. I think this is fantastic. I typically come for lunch at camdens and buy nearly all of my wine here. I rarely think about coming for dinner because I find it so easy to compromise my budget for an amazing dish that is impossible to pass up. Fixed price menus are fantastic. I’ll take this any day for dinner over the other offerings in the neighborhood.

    There are enough corner markets that have opened that you don’t need to carry toilet paper any more. If someone is that desperate they will likely order it on Amazon Now anyways.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing some more fresh produce. I know it is hard to keep and store. Maybe you could post on Facebook about the fresh items you are getting in? I despise going to a full grocery store for a few asundry items, most of which are fresh fruits and vegetables in my case. I cant stock up on those.

    Thanks for being a great neighbor. So sorry to hear about your losses. I am grateful that you recommitted to the neighborhood and to the restaurant. We all must evolve to stay relevant in the ever changing market. Things are only going to get better for Manchester in the next several years. Thanks for hanging in there with us!

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