By Amy Young
Three Gilbert, Arizona restaurants have one thing in common—Joe Johnston. Johnston brings a lifetime of growing knowledge and utilizing quality food items to the table, along with a desire to build community. Together with co-founders and partners, he has created three diverse eateries that use fresh, locally sourced and healthy ingredients to keep patrons coming back for more. Each place is threaded by a warm, welcoming vibe, along with thoughtful dishes that are made with both quality and pure satisfaction in mind.
JOE’S FARM GRILL
Repurposed from the house where Johnston lived as a child raised, Joe’s Farm Grill is a retro-modern diner surrounded by lush greenery, with a menu as tasty as its hip aesthetic. Plump, juicy burgers are served on griddled buns, elevated by crunchy sides like crispy fried green beans or jumbo-sized onion rings. Grilled pizzas can be topped with items like vegetables or barbecued chicken. Milkshakes here are a must; thick and rich, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The Agritopia Medjool Date shake is served seasonally, and the sweet punch of the fruit blended into the frozen goodness is not easily forgotten. joesfarmgrill.com
JOE’S REAL BBQ
This barbecue joint in the heart of Gilbert has been serving countless plates of pecan-smoked meats since 1998. Options like pork, chicken, beef brisket and hot links spend hours in a smoker loaded with pecan wood to get the tenderness and flavors that make this a popular destination. Joe’s offers plenty of options for those who don’t eat meat, like the Stuffed Bakers—regular or sweet baked potatoes that weigh in at one pound, or more, and can be loaded with all kinds of good toppings, like butter, cheese and sour cream. Sweets like the Root Beer Cake, Apple Crisp Ala Mode and warm cornbread with honey butter are not to be missed. joesrealbbq.com
Liberty Market is all about classic dishes with a modern touch. Housed in a historic building from the 1930s, Liberty Market permeates a harmonic charm and authenticity that makes it inviting and homey. A Chef David’s Breakfast Sandwich is jazzed up with chipotle cream cheese and caramelized onions. The lunch menu’s New York Strip Steak Sandwich is served on a pretzel bun slathered with horseradish aioli. Dinner allows for options like Short Rib Rigatoni, tender Flatiron Steak or a meatless Red Bean and Rice Burger. libertymarket.com