A restaurant built off chance


Two customers eat at the Campfire Grill on March 24 in Watauga, Texas.

Nicole Nielsen

A restaurant in Watauga, Texas, has been dubbed a “mission fulfilled by God” by its co-owners, who met by chance, but had a common dream.

Kareem Lawton and Pablo Resendez opened the Campfire Grill in 2015 and have served made-from-scratch comfort foods in their “warm, loving kitchen” based in food, family and freedom.

“I think I speak for both of us when I say that meeting each other was no accident,” said Resendez. “We wanted our own freedoms to create the business we had always dreamed of.”

Lawton and Resendez did not meet until 2014, although both were both general managers for separate Razzoo’s chains in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and had attended monthly meetings together since 2006. In 2014, they had both started working for the Hoffbrau Steakhouse in Granbury, Texas, and discovered they had similar dreams, values and goals.

Having the freedom to make their own financial and personal decisions on behalf of the restaurant inspired them to start their small business, said Resendez. One important shared goal was giving back to the community.

“That is what our ‘Giving Wall’ is all about,” said Lawton. “We have a wall of buckets that each have names of local charities. We ask customers to put their receipts in the bucket of their choice. Each month, we count up the total amount of all the receipts in the most full bucket and donate 10% of that amount to that charity.”

Lawton and Resendez said they have plans to change the restaurant’s location when their lease is up in two years, but have no idea where life will take them next. They are sure that the next step will include God leading them to their next campground.


Two customers eat at the Campfire Grill on March 24 in Watauga, Texas.