Just in time for the holiday season, Gilbert mainstay and Agritopia founder Joe Johnston’s most recent venture, Barnone, is something like a mini-mall for the craft movement. The converted 1950s Quonset hut has been renovated to the nines with reclaimed wood paneling, stylish industrial iron work, and subway tiles. Eleven local craftsmen and women, from restaurateurs to winemakers to woodworkers, have taken up shop in the main “barn” and two adjacent garages, and we’ve got the master list.
The Barnone directory includes quite a few Johnston family ventures, as well as those of family friends. It serves as an example of collaboration. Evidence is everywhere: Prickly Pear Paper printed menus and business cards, LetterCraft contributed to décor and branding, the restaurants source their produce from the farm next door. Each vendor makes a concerted effort to see to the success of his or her immediate neighbors.
Here’s the Barnone directory:
The Farm Store
Because Barnone displaced the old Farm Stand at Agritopia, another structure was built to house The Farm Store. It’s an on-your-honor shopping system. Grab a paper bag, then pick and choose produce from the farm next door as well as milk, eggs, and even pantry items from a rotating list of local providers. Check yourself out using the store’s ticket system. The unspoken message: We’re all friends here.
Also outside of the main Quonset hut is Garage-East, an experimental winery and tasting room run by Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas Wine Works. The Bostocks and other collaborating wine workers, like Maynard Keenan, plan to challenge conventional wine making techniques with the wines and other fermented fruit bevs they feature at Garage-East. Some special things available now: a 2015 Garage-East ROSE that they use to make frozen rosé ice pops and, for a limited time on opening day, 32-oz cans of Garage-East New Wine, a carbonic macerated Aleatico wine made with grapes from Cimarron Vineyard in Willcox, Arizona.
The Uprooted Kitchen
Chad and Erin Romanoff retired their 1968 Avion trailer-turned-food truck and found a permanent home for their affordable, vegan and veg-forward food at Barnone. The Romanoffs sourced their produce from the Farm at Agritopia during their seven food truck years, so the move just seems right, they say. Erin and her culinary team are excited to have the room to play within their organic, plant-based framework, but fans can still get the original menu offerings (and watch it all happen in the open kitchen).
The Johnston Machine Co.
Many know Joe Johnston by his restaurants (Joe’s BBQ, Joe’s Farm Grill, etc.) but not many know of his background and education in engineering. The Johnston Machine Co. is a melding of past and present for Johnston – a place to engineer equipment for small-scale foodservice kitchens. For example, with his machinery, Johnston is in the process of making dish-specific cast iron skillets for the other restaurant spot in Barnone, Fire & Brimstone. Adjacent to the machine shop is a sometimes-workspace, sometimes-seating area and event space called Final Assembly.
Prickly Pear Paper
Mark Johnston (Joe Johnston’s nephew) and his fiancé Lauren Elliot bring their collective experience – his working in design for Nike Skateboarding and hers in retail for rag & bone – to their new printing company, Prickly Pear Paper. It’s modern graphic design gone old school; the vintage Kelsey King Jobber letterpress used to make their handmade paper products is proudly displayed. Clients can commission special printing jobs or simply shop from Prickly Pear’s stationary, cards, and gifts (many Arizona-themed) or curated selection of other paper goods.
Another Johnston family passion project, Johnston Arms, comes from Steve Johnston (Joe’s brother). It's a high-end gunsmith shop with a mission to “preserve the craftsmanship of bespoke firearms and to promote the sporting lifestyle.” The shop will also book sporting excursions for clients as well as teach shooting instruction and group classes.
Everybody Loves Flowers
Barnone now serves as storefront for Mireille Helm’s flower business, Everybody Loves Flowers, the first flower shop in the Agritopia area. Everybody Loves Flowers services weddings and other special occasions, of course, but also hosts floral arranging classes and even offers a subscription drop off service (if, say, you want to send someone or yourself flowers on a regular basis).
Shelly Miera got her start in hairstyling at Toni & Guy, where she worked for over ten years before operating out of her own home. Now she has her own salon space, Wander, inside Barnone. Miera services both male and female clients and uses Oribe hairstyling products.
If you’ve ever stepped foot in a West Elm store in Arizona, you may have noticed a number of Arizona-themed woodcuttings in the national chain's LOCAL section. That’s LetterCraft, a woodcutting and engraving business run by Brandon and Katie Young that specializes in laser cut, wood burned, hand painted, and etched reclaimed wood décor and gifts. LetterCraft has done brand engraving work for the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors as well as a number of small, local artisans. They can make just about anything with wood – even quirky holiday ornaments with celebrity faces burned into them (like Prince, Lebron James, and Barb from Stranger Things).
Fire & Brimstone
Joe Johnston’s son James Johnston takes up the restaurant-preneur torch with Fire & Brimstone. The concept is simple: highlight fresh ingredients taken from the farm next door and wood fire them in a Bianco-esque oven. The menu features casual fare like fun, artisan pizzas (The Fire and Brimstone pie comes with house-made merguez sausage, jalapeños, and a fried egg) and bigger plates like half a roast chicken with red potatoes and chimichurri. The seating arrangement is one long communal table, where Johnston hopes patrons will take the opportunity to set down their cell phones and get to know their neighbors.
A “craftsman community” would be incomplete without craft beer, and that’s what Noel Garcia and Brian McCormick provide for Barnone – and the whole East Valley, for that matter. As with the other Barnone compadres, 12West’s wares feel authentically Arizonan: plenty of beers with notes of citrus and dates, and even a coffee stout made with coffee from a Mesa roaster. The tap list is full of cheeky names like Fresh Prince of Bel-Ale, Suh Dude, and Wheat Didn’t Start the Fire, if that gives you any indication of the taproom’s open and friendly vibe. And, of course, there’s a crowler machine onsite so you can take your favorite beer home before the tap list rotates.
Barnone: A Craftsman Community opens to the public today, November 22.
3000 E. Ray Road
Gilbert, AZ 85296
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.