Camden Cellars revamps and reopens

Camden Cellars revamps and reopens

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Although the upstairs portion of Camden’s Art and Wine continued to display a variety of art, jewelry and other items for purchase, Camden Cellars was missed by citizens of Macoupin County. On March 2, the business announced on its Facebook page that the restaurant portion would be reopening. Abbe Eldred, manager, offered details behind the close and changes that were made.

The operation originally opened on October 23, 2015; it started as a tapas bar and restaurant. According to Eldred, five or six options were offered on the menu. Despite Camden Cellars’ small beginnings, it quickly grew until it closed down on Dec. 30, 2016. “We needed to regroup and consider options for what we should be offering our customers,” she said. “We received a great deal of feedback and decided it was time to do something different.”

Comments came from both restaurant patrons and food representatives; they held majority of the influence on the restaurant’s changes. Eldred said, “Essentially, the key to owning a restaurant is putting the customers’ needs before your wants. That’s how you keep a business running.” Prices were adjusted to offer middle-of-the-road costs, and the menu was reinvented.

Camden Cellars also hired on Chef Tom Wagstaff to suit their new needs. “He can create everything from simple fried eggs to upscale dishes. His wide range of abilities is exactly what we needed,” Eldred said.

Although the restaurant added a large portion of new menu choices, it kept a few favorites such as its spinach artichoke dip, steak crostini, Brie en croute and Philly cheesesteak. Current changes fixated on burgers, sandwiches and entrees.

Burger options include items such as  “The Big Stuff,” which features a cheeseburger stuffed with T. Wagstaff’s choice of the day. Gluten-free buns are also available upon request. Patrons can choose to add one of their six cheese options and mushrooms or bacon for an additional cost as well.

New sandwiches offered involve options like the “chicken parmwich,” which includes a lightly breaded chicken breast smothered in marinara and topped with mozzarella and provolone cheese on a toasted hoagie. All burgers and sandwiches are served with a side of one of the following: beer-battered fries, cup of soup, vegetable of the day or tossed side salad.

There are now seven entree options that are served with a cup of soup or side salad, choice of potato, rice pilaf or vegetable of the day.

Camden Cellars expanded its children’s menu for families looking to experience the restaurant. Four choices are available with a side of fries, chips or applesauce. Eldred said, “We didn’t have a lot of options previously, so we decided to offer a little more to accommodate to families.”

In regards to desserts, all are homemade by Victoria Wagstaff. Customers are asked  to speak to their server about the selection. Additionally, V. Wagstaff will create desserts specifically for special occasions upon request.

Drink options include soft drinks, juice, iced and hot tea, coffee and filtered water. Camden Cellars are continuing to offer a wide variety of alcoholic beverages and will be adding domestics to their draft.

Camden’s Art and Wine intends to start small with their reopening of the restaurant, and their kitchen will be open on Thursdays from 4-9 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-10 p.m. Eventually, Eldred believes its hours will expand, and it may start offering lunch hours. Camden’s is also open to doing parties.

Camden Cellars reopens on Thursday, March 16. Tying into this occasion is their St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebration on Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18. They will be serving corned beef and cabbage.

For more information, call (217) 854-3409, email camdensartandwine@yahoo.com. Additionally, Camden’s Art and Wine has an active Facebook page and will respond to messages there. “Overall, we hope these changes will help us run more efficiently. Everything is more thought out now,” said Eldred.