Campo Mammoth

 Campo's wood-fired oven churns out beautiful Napolitano-style pizzas ( campomammoth.com )

Campo's wood-fired oven churns out beautiful Napolitano-style pizzas (campomammoth.com)

Campo is great, if you hit it right. If you decide to saunter in on a Saturday night during Christmas or the Fourth of July, you’re probably not going to have a great time. 

This excellent Italian family-style restaurant concept, developed by Reno-based chef Mark Estee, was bought by the Levy Group, which runs concessionaire operations for Mammoth Mountain. The good news—you can use your Mammoth Pass Cash to pay for your dinner. The bad news—it can feel a little bit more corporate than the vibe it seeks to exude. 

They have a wood-fired oven that churns out beautiful Napolitano-style pizzas, but again, if they’re too busy, the chefs sling those pizzas way too quickly and you don’t get the almost-burned crust Napolitano-style is known for. 

If you’re there for a mellow Monday night, your server will likely be attentive, recommend wine to pair with your food, and describe the daily selection of “crispy pig parts” (please please please be pork belly!) with gusto. If it’s a Sunday during Bluesapalooza and you’ve got a party of 15, dishes are going to come out poorly-spaced. It’s just a fact of life of really any restaurant located in The Village at Mammoth, where the volume of visitors is just way too much for most restaurants to handle when town is busy. 

 Campo offers a fine selection of meats ( campomammoth.com )

Campo offers a fine selection of meats (campomammoth.com)

But let’s assume you’ve done the smart thing and come at a reasonable time—the food really is fantastic. Pasta is house made, and the pizzas are creative and taste truly smoky and heart-warming. It’s hard to go wrong with the Margherita, but another favorite is the Bee Sting (honey and serranos give this pizza a sweet-spicy flavor). Adding a farm fresh egg (they come from down the road in Bishop) is recommended. Also recommended: asking for your pizza “double cut.” If you’re sharing, you’ll get more slices, which will make your life easier. 

The kale salad is to die for, with a “63-degree egg” that essentially turns into its own dressing, and crispy grana padano discs. 

They have a delightful cocktail list—La Vida Boheme is a favorite, made with muddled blackberries and basil, reposado tequila, and lemon juice. Get the Darcy Farrow if you’re into whiskey. 

And their wine list is also outstanding, and during their happy hour (3-5 p.m.) a $5 house wine is hard to beat, especially if it’s summer and you’re lounging on the outdoor patio. 

Campo is located in The Village at Mammoth, 6201 Minaret Rd. Open daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Happy Hour from 3-5 p.m. 760.934.0669 or www.campomammoth.com.

Sarah Rea is a freelance dirtbag-turned-journalist who has been living in the Sierra on and off for twenty years, with eight spent in Yosemite National Park and five in Mammoth Lakes. She likes dogs, rocks, good food and jumping into cold water.