The full-service restaurant has been operating as a casual barbecue and ice cream parlor. In her new position, McKevitt is revamping the menu, along with operational systems, and restaurant design. She already has introduced fresh, healthy additions to the menu and is planning additional food and beverage offerings for special events.
The café will be renamed when the new design is unveiled this year. In the meantime, campers can dine at the café Monday through Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In addition to extensive new menu additions, McKevitt will be redesigning the décor of the indoor café and the covered patio and introducing themed food and drinks, including a private-label IPA and an ale, both currently in formulation and taste-testing.
She reported that new, large-screen televisions are already attracting bigger crowds for college and pro football games with new table service on the covered café patio. Campland has further plans to expand food and drink service to a beachside location, where campers congregate for water sports on Mission Bay.
“Clare brings new ideas, new energy and a healthy vibe to our food and beverage operations,” said Gelfand. “She is expanding our operation to take refreshments to the Campland beach, where campers relax, swim, paddleboard, kayak, play beach volleyball, fish and bird watch, so it’s always got a lot of activity.”
Gelfand said a café outpost planned for the Campland beach will offer shaved iced, frozen drinks, snacks and treats in a festive setting on the beach near the marina. “It’ll provide quick refreshment or a nice spot to sit and watch all the beachfront activity. It will be located courtside for beach volleyball games while also overlooking our large, grassy Central Park.”
McKevitt, originally from Dublin, Ireland, earned a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in restaurant, hospitality and sports industries from the Dublin Institute of Technology. For her practical experience internship, she interned at Campland on the Bay in the summer of 2005. She wrote her thesis on American recreational activities as she experienced them while assisting the campground’s recreation director.
Following graduation, McKevitt returned to San Diego for an 18-month, post-graduate internship at Pacific Terrace Hotel in Pacific Beach, where she gained experience in all aspects of hotel management and operations and where she planned and oversaw the design and installation of a hotel gym.
In 2007, she helped open and run Gallagher’s, an Irish pub in Ocean Beach, which she managed for seven years, garnering numerous awards for food and beverage and as a live music venue. After Gallagher’s was sold in 2014, McKevitt managed construction specifications, interior design and installation of business offices in Atlanta.
“Campland on the Bay was my first stop-off getting off the bus in America and I never would have guessed I’d be back here working,” she said. “I think the potential at Campland on the Bay is fantastic and a great opportunity to keep the Campland spirit going by combining food, music, games and making friends.
“We’re excited about bringing food and beverage service to the beach, the heartbeat of action and fun here. Nowhere else in this region can families enjoy such a friendly, waterfront experience, right on the region’s popular Mission Bay.
“There aren’t a lot of beachfront places where you can have a drink and some food and have your kids and dogs there, too. It’s going to be similar to an atmosphere we find in Ireland, where people are 6, 25 and 80 years old all enjoying themselves together.”
She also plans darts, games, music, karaoke nights, bingo, movie nights, quiz and trivia games, wine and painting and other fun activities.
Believing that dogs are an important part of the family and a unique aspect of the Campland experience, McKevitt has developed “Friendly Pupsicles” for canine campers. The organic frozen treats come in three flavors: chicken, tuna and sausage and are made with honey, yogurt and peanut butter shaped like paws or bones or in a cup for longer licking.
“We’re excited to reach out to locals who can now have a bit of the Campland on the Bay experience, too,” McKevitt said. Locals are welcome to the café between Labor Day and Memorial Day and also can plan catering for hosted special events at the campground, birthday parties, corporate events and team-building retreats.
For more information, contact McKevitt at [email protected], at 619-813-5425 or by visiting www.campland.com.