Discovering Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert Arizona The Uprooted Kitchen in Barnone at the Agritopia


Gilbert Arizona, has become the fastest-growing city in the Phoenix area. Its popularity can be seen as one walks down Gilbert Rd in the heart of Gilbert’s Heritage District. Not only is the town popular with snowbirds, especially those from Canada, but the school systems also attract many families. With this draw, one must check out the dining, wine, and bar scene in Gilbert.

The Heritage District has been revitalized with restaurants, wine bars, and a speakeasy. Almost every establishment has an outdoor patio, and the place is hopping with singles, couples, and families all the time, but especially on weekends.

Gilbert Arizona Watertower
Gilbert Arizona Watertower

Exemplifying the farm-to-table concept, Gilbert also features an Agritopia, which consists of 166 acres of mixed-use planned community focusing on agrarianism. Developed by Joe Johnston, one finds a mixture of homes, cottages, bungalows, an urban farm, a community garden, and several restaurants. The latest addition is Barnone, which features restaurants, a wine bar, and other artisan craftspeople. You might call Agritopia an incorporated urban village.

Barnone

The Barnone is an old Silo for hay that is covered in recycled aluminum for World War II planes. The unique design draws one to discover what lies inside.

Barnone at the Agritopia
Barnone at the Agritopia

The Uprooted Kitchen

It was a treat to discover The Uprooted Kitchen. The restaurant is a plant-based eatery owned by Chad and Erin Romonoff. Erin started as a pastry chef, and Chad as an occupational therapist. They began in 2012 with a food truck and, for four years, serviced Gilbert’s Farmers Market. They planted their roots in the Barnone because of its like-minded focus. A portion of the produce used in their cooking comes from the Agritopia farm. Everything else is locally grown in the area and is organic. 

The vegan cuisine is unique, delicious, and colorful. The Chickpea Scramble was yummy, as was the unusual array of desserts. There is a southwestern flair to the cuisine, but for those with dietary issues, Erin and Chad love to accommodate. 

Chickpea Scramble at The Uprooted Kitchen
Chickpea Scramble at The Uprooted Kitchen

Garage-East

Also featured at the Barone is Garage-East, a wine bar and tasting room. Combining the talents of Todd and Kelly Bostock, owners of Dos Cabezas Wineworks, and Brian and Megan Ruffentine, Brian, a retired fire chief, the two couples use the Dos Cabezas grapes that grow in both Wilcox and Elgin to produce their wines.

Being in an agricultural area, they utilize fruit in various stages of the fermentation process of their wine. For example, the Garage-East Breakfast wine consists of citrus fermented with white wine and carbonated. It is their take on a Mimosa. 

Their Pinot Gris is made like a Ramato, where the juice is macerated on their skins and provides the wine with its copper color.

My first favorite was Ray Rd., a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, and Syrah that ages 24 months.  Grapes come from the Cimarron Vineyard in Wilcox. The wine delivers a bright texture with a spicy and peppery finish. Next, the smoothly balanced Higley Rd, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Counoise, Cabernet Franc, and Tempranillo, also ages for 24 months and comes from the Cimarron Vineyard.  Finally, the Red Blend is a tribute to Spain, France, and Italy with its more unusual blend of Montepulciano, Barbera, and Aglianico.  Enjoy any one of these wines or include them in the flight.

Garage-East Wine Bar at the Barnone
Garage-East Wine Bar at the Barnone

Arizona Wilderness Brewery

Although the Arizona Wilderness Brewery features craft beer made from wild-grown and farm-grown products, it is Gilbert’s first brewery. The food and wine list are worth the visit. Everything is Arizona local, including the beef used in their burgers. An eclectic menu includes sandwiches, salads, tacos, duck fat fries, and, of course, their signature burgers.

Hamburger and Salad at Arizona Wilderness Brewery
Hamburger and Salad at Arizona Wilderness Brewery

The Gilbert House Restaurant 

Located in a charming home-like setting, Gilbert House is a family-owned diner-style restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. The restaurant is popular for brunch.

Tobo

Reminiscent of the 1950s or 1960s Americana roadside architecture, stop by Tobo for its burritos, roasted corn, and Vanilla or Prickly Pear soft ice cream.  Add chocolate, lime, or prickly pear dip to your ice cream.  This establishment beckons you with its iconic mole that sits atop the building.  Think of the three chipmunks, and you have Tobo’s mole.   

Topo for Cactus Ice Cream
Topo for Cactus Ice Cream

Liberty Market

Situated in a building dating back to 1935, Liberty Market is a joint venture between Chef David & Kiersten Traina and Gilbert restaurateur Joe & Cindy Johnston. Liberty Market is a lively restaurant frequented by locals. From expresso to homemade pastries, you can stop by any time of the day. Try the Chicken in Apricot Sauce, one of the menu staples. Place your order, take a number, and your server brings the food to you.

Nico Heirloom Kitchen

Find an upscale restaurant, the first in Gilbert, featuring Italian cuisine. By far, a favorite, Nico’s food is exceptional, and the service is excellent. From homemade pasta to fresh seasonal dishes, many of the dishes come from heirloom family recipes.

Entree at Nico Herloom Kitchen in Gilbert Arizona
Entree at Nico Heirloom Kitchen in Gilbert Arizona

Postino East

Postino means Postman in Italian, and it got its name because the first restaurant/wine bar of the 5 Arizona Postinos is located in a 1940s post office building. Find a wine bar with an extensive and excellent selection of wines from around the world. Many of these wines are offered by the glass. On a beautiful day, enjoy sitting outside for lunch or dinner and a glass of wine. The food ranges from Panini sandwiches to Charcuterie boards to salads and more. A delightful setting to enjoy a glass of wine.

Postino-East Wine Cafe in Gilbert Arizona
Postino-East Wine Cafe in Gilbert Arizona

The White Rabbit Bar

Gilbert has a speakeasy, and it is a fun place to hang out. To enter, you must find the secret door and need a password. As you climb down the stairs to The White Rabbit, you think of Alice and Wonderland and the White Rabbit going down the rabbit hole.

Once inside, you find yourself in a different world; Prohibition meets the roaring 20s. Find cocktails, wine, beer, and some food. White Rabbit features upscale bar food plus desserts. The menu includes a meat and cheese board, Artisan flatbreads, Rabbit food, and more. You might want to check out White Rabbit when there is nighttime musical entertainment.

Bartenders at The White Rabbit
Bartenders at The White Rabbit

Visiting Gilbert Arizona

Finally, if you are visiting anywhere in the Phoenix vicinity, it is worth coming to Gilbert Arizona, to experience the local flair and excellent dining and bar options. Gilbert is Arizona’s best-kept secret for foodies.  You will not leave hungry.

Note: Common to the travel industry, this writer was hosted to several (not all) of the meals in Gilbert Arizona.  While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

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