Urban Campfire gets ready for a renovation

Now that Urban Campfire owners Robert Stempkowski and Stephen Wolff have prevailed in the civil suit that's been sapping so much of their time, energy, and cash, they're "celebrating" by finally moving forward with some much-needed renovations to the property.

"The consensus rap has just been the dreariness of the property," Stempkowski told me.

This Friday, May 23, will be Urban Campfire's last day serving carnivorous customers until it reopens August 8 -- right around the time the ASU dorms will open for the fall semester.

In the meantime, Stempkowski and Wolff plan to gut the bar area (which is currently a glorified counter) and install new cooling equipment and other essentials. Out front, they will transform the patio into a covered, climate-controlled space that will pretty much double their seating capacity.

Things are looking up for the restaurant partners. Besides the renovation, they're working on possibly franchising Urban Campfire, and maybe even mass-producing their popular Aunt Mary's Dressing. Stempkowski says he really did get the salad dressing recipe from his Aunt Mary, who's "a spinster in her 80s."

And if you wind up seeing it on the shelves of your local grocery store, don't be surprised to see Aunt Mary's real-life motto on the label: "Plate-licking is the ultimate compliment."

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