According to Steve Wolff, who owns Urban Campfire, his business partner Robert Stempkowski had a conversation with a certain reporter from a certain local publication (okay, it was Howard Seftel from the Republic) about how Stempkowski was considering leaving the Tempe barbecue restaurant. It was reported today as confirmation that Urban Campfire was closed.
But hey, they're still open!
I'm glad to hear it, but I admit, I believed the bad faux-news, and blithely found it worth a blog comment. (The sky is falling, indeed!) A little while later, something about it showed up on the Trib's food blog, too (it's still cached in Google), although later Jess Harter deleted it and put up a new post that failed to come clean on his own snafu. Hmm.
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Actually, the alleged closing made sense: Stempkowski called New Times a few weeks ago to say that the owner of the gas station next door to Urban Campfire was making frequent complaint calls to the city's environmental department about the restaurant's meat smoker. On top of that, the place was often so empty that I wondered if the end was in sight.
Still, the combination of great BBQ, blue collar beer, and cheap prices always seemed like a no-brainer for the student-centric ASU dining scene, but hey, maybe the kiddies are all going vegan...
Anyway, Wolff's pissed, which is understandable. Sorry dude. Hopefully this will give people a second chance to visit your restaurant, after keeping it on their to-do list for all these months.
Good night, and good luck.