cover-storyfeatured-food-and-wineIssue 12

The Right Place for Dinner Tonight

Camp 4 Wine Café
By Haley Brown

“Where do you want to eat tonight?” It’s that daunting question that leaves you scratching your head, reading Yelp reviews until your eyes hurt and then, after desperation sets in, leaves you eating frozen pizza instead of going out. Now, there’s nothing wrong with frozen pizza once in a while, but let me forestall your next “where do we eat” dilemma with one simple solution: put down the pizza and go directly to Camp 4 Wine Café in Modesto.

Located on 10th Street and Needham in Downtown Modesto, Camp 4 offers an urban vibe unfamiliar to the Valley. Just walking in the heavy timbered door, you immediately feel as if you were in downtown San Francisco, but without the hassle of leaving Stanislaus County.

Owner Damon Robbins’ menu offers industrious diners a selection of wine flights—tasting-sized portions of three similar wines intended to allow the curious wine consumer to put a range of flavors head to head. With a substantial wine list offering familiar and unique varietals sourced from across the globe including Spain, New Zealand, Germany, France, California and a whole lot more, Camp 4 offers vino for every palate. If you’d prefer hops over the grape, Camp 4 also offers a wide selection of bottled beers including local favorites from Dust Bowl Brewery in Turlock and esoteric craft brews you can’t find anywhere else. Can’t make up your mind? Robbins’ staff are well versed in every offering and happy to help you make your selection.

When it comes to food, Camp 4 keeps it local. The cafe’s rotating selection of comestibles includes fresh fruits and veggies sourced from local farmers markets and designed to complement your wine or beer selection. The menu is loaded with light fare including large cheese plates, charcuterie, fresh salads and specialized Panini.

The menu’s most popular item is the specialty chocolate churro Panini. The dessert is a tantalizing mix of melted chocolate, toasted ciabatta bread, fresh cinnamon and sea salt served with a side of whipped cream. Its entry on the menu proudly proclaims that it’s so good they don’t need another dessert and the assertion is absolutely right. Your night—and, perhaps, your life—is not complete until you try this.

Need more convincing to try out this local favorite? Look no further than the side of the building. There, a mural celebrating legendary local climber Royal Robbins—Damon’s father— establishes Camp 4’s lineage. Camp 4 is named for the famed camp in Yosemite National Park where Royal began his ascent from rock climber to household name. Inside and out, Camp 4 celebrates this pedigree. Along with the mural, the restaurant’s interior reads like a transplant from the base of Half Dome. From signage proclaiming distances to all points Yosemite to vintage photographs from Royal’s youth blown up to poster size; rough hewn logs doubling as serving platters around the small interior to a small iron sculpture of a man scaling a rope tucked against the short wall separating the open kitchen from the dining area, no matter where you look, you’re reminded of an authentic touch of history.

So, go ahead, put down the pizza, and pick up your wine glass. Camp 4 Wine Café is the place to be in Modesto.

CAMP 4 IS LOCATED AT 1508 10th Street, Suite B, Modesto. Check out out the
menu and more at

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