The Campground Pitching Tent in Former Genessee Royale Space

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The Camp Ground is opening a new restaurant in the former Genessee Royale Bistro space in the West Bottoms.

By Kevin Collison

Less than a week after the Genessee Royale Bistro closed in the West Bottoms, The Campground is leasing the space and plans to open a new restaurant there in early September.

Chris Ciesiel and Cristin Llewellyn, the couple who own The Campground, said the opportunity to open in the former Royale space at 1531 Genessee came at a great time.

The Royale closed June 29 after a seven-year run in the former gas station, according to landlord Bill Haw Sr.

“We’re supper excited about it,” Ciesiel said. “For five years, we’ve been doing pop-up things and small catering events.

“We had wanted to move into space at Main and Westport Road for 1 1/2 years, but at the 11th hour, it fell through. Then we found out this space was coming available.”

Ciesiel said The Campground will offer a generous selection of vegetarian items on the menu as well as options for meat dishes.

They’re also planning a full cocktail bar with Happy Hour specials and offering bottle-condition beers.

“We’ve always been geared more toward lighter and smaller fare,” he said. “We have a cool concept and we feel we’ll be a great addition to the neighborhood.”

The area of the Bottoms where The Campground is located is known as The Stockyards District and right now, it’s a busy place.

Construction is underway on a 232-unit apartment project called The Yards, across Genessee, and the Hy-Vee Arena amateur sports complex is scheduled to open this September in the former Kemper Arena, drawing thousands to the area.

The venerable Golden Ox steakhouse also recently reopened in the Livestock Exchange Building across the street after a four-year hiatus.

“This all will do nothing but good for the neighborhood,” Ciesiel said. “Hy-Vee Arena already has 50 weekends booked which will drive a lot of people here.”

The tentative hours for The Campround are expected to be Mondays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The restaurant will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The Genessee Royale Bistro closed June 29 after operating seven years at 1531 Genessee.

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