Where to eat and drink in downtown Gilbert

Until a few years ago, the best thing to eat in downtown Gilbert was vanilla ice cream at your local Dairy Queen.

The Heritage District has come a long way since its days as a rural farming community, as recounted in the Arizona Republic History piece by Jessica Boehm. With the help of some forward-thinking restaurateurs, like Joe Johnston of Joe’s Farm Grill and Craig DeMarco of Postino in the early 2010s, the neighborhood has turned into a raucous culinary eatery. A bar with about thirty stylish bars and restaurants.

Only a few historic agricultural structures remain, and now the stretch of Gilbert Road between Elliott Road and Juniper Street is a magnet for the satellite locations of popular Valley restaurants such as Clever Coy, Barrio Queen, Colinary Drop Out and Postino. a few miles away, Gilbert is also getting an ambitious mixed-use development called Epicenter which will soon open its doors in Agritopia, where more bustling Phoenix restaurants and bars plan to open new outposts.

I can’t lie, I love the occasional snowstorm from time to time, but if you’re in the mood for something a little more special, my favorite local bars and restaurants are not chains and not second spots. My top ten all have Gilbert ancestry.

Here’s a place to eat like a food critic in downtown Gilbert.

Galapagos Café

Just a few blocks from the main city center, this intimate café offers a glimpse into Ecuadorean coffee culture. In addition to a small coffee menu, owner Alexandra Moran offers traditional Ecuadorean pastries such as alfajores and pan de yuca, a delicious cheesecake made with cassava flour. That’s why I checked it out the first time, but came back for Moran’s friendly service, warm conversation, and welcome.

details: 7 E Palo Verde Street, Suite 7, Gilbert. 480-560-4162, galapagoscoffeeshop.weebly.com.

Farm House Restaurant

It’s as close as you’ll get to a rustic restaurant in the Phoenix area, so I can see why this home-cooked breakfast was packed during a recent visit. The woman-owned restaurant, originally located inside an actual farm, moved into the 1918 building in 2001 and has been serving a large menu of homemade omelettes and cinnamon rolls ever since. I got an omelette loaded with bacon, sausage, green pepper, and sour cream ($14.25). Delicious food, well prepared.

details: 228 Gilbert Street, Gilbert. 480-926-0676, Farmhouseofgilbert.com.

Freedom Market

Gilbert Restaurant Joe Johnston’s contemporary restaurant is located in a 1935 building right next door to The Farmhouse. Like its neighbor, it also makes a huge monster out of cinnamon rolls. But Liberty Market is open for breakfast and lunch And the Dinner. And like his other restaurants, Joe’s Farm Grill and Joe’s Real BBQ across the street, the accessible menu has a little something for everyone.

details: 230 Gilbert Street, Gilbert. 480-892-1900, Libertymarket.com.

Bergi coffee roasting house

I go to Bergie more than anywhere else on this list, and it’s not just because I love locally roasted coffee. When the weather is cooler, I can spend hours sitting on the attractive garden patio overlooking the little cottage that serves as a café. The building was home to the Clare family until the 1960s, and now hosts a small café run by the Bergesons. Their cold brew is strong and always hits the spot.

details: 309 Gilbert Rd, Gilbert. 480-497-3913, bergiescoffee.com.

Topo

When I’m downtown, I always try to bump into this burrito stand surrounded by a 7-foot-tall statue of Gopher. The roadside attraction is a naughty spot for Joe’s Real BBQ and serves only 2 burritos and a glass of elliot, vanilla, and prickly pear serving ice cream. I usually go with the Topo Loco burrito ($8.50), which is stuffed with Fritos cornflakes and Lotta savory stuff, including juicy pork, a creamy corn dip and a smooth cream of re-cooked beans. It’s not classic Mexican food, but it works in a way.

details: 301 N Gilbert Street, Building 2, Gilbert. topoarizona.com.

Euro Romeo Cafe

This ancient Mediterranean restaurant has been around the East Valley for over 30 years. He moved to Gilbert’s embellished location from the Fiesta Mall area of ​​central Mesa in 2004. The first thing you notice when you enter is all the gift shops and the pastry box filled with various chocolate cakes and cannoli. Romeo is a gem of the valley that goes well with pita sandwiches, but still has room for a creamy “Calypso” tortellini with crabmeat, red pepper, and asparagus ($24).

details: 207 N Gilbert Street, Suite 105, Gilbert. 480-962-4224, eurocafe.com.

Bangkok cafe

Not technically in downtown Gilbert, but I had to put it on this list well. Café de Bangkok is an outstanding Thai restaurant in an old street mall. Before it was taken over by the new owners in 2019, the place was called Mint Thai Cafe and was considered one of the best Thai spots in the valley (by me). The menu was on a recent visit as exciting as my childhood memories, especially when Thai fried rice in an iron skillet appeared on a bed of cheese ($14.95).

details: 1111 N Gilbert Rd, Suite 101-103. 480-497-5366, cafedebangkokgilbert.com.

Modern Sotol Cocktail Kitchen

Named after the famous cactus spirit of northern Mexico, Sotol is a modern Mexican restaurant with rooftop views and a completely experimental cocktail menu. In a recent guide, former nightlife reporter Tyrion Morris recommended ordering a Forbidden Dance With Mango Tequila ($17). “It’s a drink that celebrates mangoes similar to smoothies or milkshakes, bringing out the sweetness and softness of the fruit,” she wrote.

details: 313 N Street. Gilbert, Suite 301, Gilbert. 480-550-6300, sotolmck.com.

Sotol Guide: This bar has a sneaky entrance and killer views

gypsy cup

New to the strip, this chic boho coffee and cocktail home has an interesting menu of bar snacks, such as mashed eggs with feta-thyme seasoning mix and short ribs topped with an espresso-miso coating. The cocktail menu has a similar aesthetic with a tequila-based espresso martini and strawberry kiss ($15) with prosecco and a cool raspberry smoke.

details: 50 W iPhone Ave, Suite 107. gypsycup.com.

white rabbit

Modern partying is definitely still a thing in downtown Gilbert, where you have to give a password at the door to get into The White Rabbit basement bar. (Not to worry, you can sign up for a password on their website, or as I did, lure the bouncer into giving you one.) Once inside, you’ll find a list of “swishers,” tiki drinks and fun numbers like Snakes in Eden ($15). Made with gin, green apple and peas infused with green tea from elderberry.

details: 207 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert. twr.bar.

Contact reporter Andy Berlin at amberlin@azcentral.com. To follow her on Facebook @andiberlin, Instagram @andiberlin or Twitter Tweet embed.

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