Stephen Schrutt, the entrepreneur behind a handful of innovative culinary concepts in downtown St. Pete, is drawing on the nostalgia of camping and roasting marshmallows over an open fire with his newest restaurant – Summer Camp.
The restaurant and bar will feature a “campground” with tents, fire tables/pits and an outdoor stage for live music in the Grand Central District, according to HTG’s Friday announcement. It will open later this year at 2060 1st Ave. S.
“I grew up in the 80s era watching films like Summer Rental, One Crazy Summer and Porky’s. That is part of my inspiration in making this,” Schrutt said to the St. Pete Catalyst.
Through Schrutt’s Hunger Thirst Group business, he has opened numerous themed foodie destinations including the Dirty Laundry speakeasy, Asian fusion restaurant Good Fortune, No Vacancy, a Floridian motels-inspired bar, and Park & Rec, which features an arcade and lawn games.
The site search began four years ago, Schrutt said. “I needed a lot of outdoor space to have the full experience of summer camp, with an indoor cabin and a campground outside.”
Schrutt continued to refine his plans and acquired the new site several weeks ago.
The building was the former home of Grayspeed Cycles, a custom motorbike shop that closed last year.
Schrutt plans to convert the parking lot portion of the property into the “campground” and feature several tents that can be reserved for parties, while the 2,304-square-foot building will serve as the cabin with a large bar and indoor seating.
There will be an outdoor stage for live music performances and “field day” events such as archery. Additionally, Schrutt plans to have a large projector to host outdoor movie nights.
“Growing up we got to experience different types of summer camps – the cabins, the campground, the friends, the events and sports, hanging around the campfires, the fun times and the memories we made. I’ve lived here over a decade and I’m always excited about making a place for people to enjoy, and just bringing them together to have a good time,” Schrutt said.
Schrutt is working with Niall McCourt, the manager at HTG’s Lost & Found retro-themed bar, to curate the cocktail program.
Schrutt plans to open Summer Camp by this fall. It will most likely open at 5 p.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends.
HTG expects to hire 25 employees for Summer Camp. The available positions include bartenders, barbacks, servers and management roles.
The group will announce further updates and news about Summer Camp via Facebook.