New restaurant, bar in Madison Park offers a variety of drinks and upscale, casual food

New restaurant, bar in Madison Park offers a variety of drinks and upscale, casual food

New restaurant, bar in Madison Park offers a variety of drinks and upscale, casual food

On the back wall of Kamp Social House in neon lights is a sign that says “Don’t be a stranger.”

Marceil Van Camp, who co-owns the restaurant and bar in Madison Park with her wife, Katy Knauff, said that is just the feeling and atmosphere they and their business partner, executive chef Bridget Lewis, want to create for customers who visit.

Kamp Social House, which is located where Luke’s used to be at 3800 E. Madison St., opened in July and has been well received in the neighborhood, Van Camp said.

“The concept of the social house is we want to be your neighborhood bar and also be a safe place for the queer community in a neighborhood that maybe isn’t recognized for that,” Van Camp said, stating that, while Madison Park residents have been nothing but welcoming and warm to Van Camp and her wife and supportive of the restaurant, people outside the neighborhood may not know that Madison Park has an establishment where everyone can gather and be welcome. “This truly is a place for everyone.”

That extends to the drinks served at the bar, as well.

Van Camp said Kamp Social House Bar and Restaurant wanted to provide thoughtful offerings to people who don’t drink alcohol beyond the usual options.

The cocktail menu offerings fall into three categories: boozy, partly boozy and unboozy. Van Camp said a popular boozy drink is the Summer Old Fashioned, featuring barrel-aged bourbon, Meyer lemon citrus, honey simple syrup and a lemon garnish.

The partly boozy menu offers “half-proof cocktails for tempered drinking.” Van Camp said people can’t get enough of the Rose Spritz.

The unboozy menu features “zero-proof cocktails for a clear mind” and drink ingredients are the distilled “run-off” from other spirits. A popular unboozy drink, Van Camp said, is The Sunset, which features Martini & Rossi Vibrante non-alcoholic aperitivo, Wilderton Lustre and Dhos Orange.

Van Camp said, while Kamp will serve drinks off-menu, customers have been receptive to ordering from the cocktail menu, which was curated by local friends who own a spirit business.

Food offerings were just as thoughtfully put together. 

Van Camp said the menu was put created by her wife, who is a restauranteur and “passionate about food,” and their friend Lewis, a respected and renowned chef whose Jamaican descent influences her food.

The menu features a variety of selections, from vegan to other options designed to appeal to everyone’s taste buds. 

“We’ve got something for everyone,” Van Camp said. 

The shareables menu is a popular choice among happy hour diners and includes items from watermelon ceviche to fried chickpeas to green plantain shrimp tostadas, with plantains straight from Lewis’s mother’s back yard in Jamaica. 

“The menu will change based on what’s good and what’s in season,” Van Camp said.

The entrée selections currently include roasted cauliflower steak, to seasonal risotto to the popular confit jerk spice duck leg with ginger carrot puree, smoked mushrooms, ube and plantains. 

“Everything is a little bit elevated,” Van Camp said. “So, comfort food meets fine dining is what we’ve done.”

Children are also welcome at the restaurant and can order from their own menu. Dessert is homemade soft serve with two weekly flavors.

Kamp Social House recently began offering brunch on Sundays, which will include the occasional drag shows featuring local drag queens, Van Camp said.

Although Kamp Social House is Van Camp and Knauff’s first restaurant, it is not their first joint enterprise. In addition, Van Camp, whose background is in marketing and communications, and Knauff run Van Knauff Group, a restaurant consulting business they started to help other entrepreneurs launch successful establishments.

They are working on other establishment projects in the city, as well, Van Camp said.

“I would love to see a world where we have a Kamp in different cities across the U.S., but, at the same time, I’m really happy where we’re at,” Van Camp said.

Kamp Social House Bar and Restaurant is open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Monday, with brunch offerings from 10 to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Go to for more information.