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Barnone, a Craftsmen Community: Winery, Brewery, and Restaurants to Open at Agritopia in Gilbert

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When it comes to words that have been co-opted and abused by those in the food and drink industry, "craft" lands pretty high on the list. But when Agritopia founder Joe Johnston talks about Barnone, a new development set to open later this year, he leaves no question about what "craftsmen" really means: "People who actually make things with their hands," Johnston says.   

Once you know that, Johnston's vision for Barnone becomes pretty easy to understand — to create a community of craftsmen and give them a place to sell their goods.

"We're trying to design a stage upon which these actors will work," Johnston said at a groundbreaking ceremony for the project last week.

When it's completed later this year, Barnone will consist of three buildings housing 12 craftsmen ranging from a chef to a custom wood signage maker. Johnston plans to convert a 1950s Quonset hut, which currently serves as the barn for the farm at Agritopia, into the main building for the complex. He'll also add two new structures to the plot just east of Joe's Farm Grill and The Coffee Shop, one for a winery and one to serve as the farm's new barn. 

In addition to spaces for a florist, graphic designer, salon, and more, Barnone will include four food and drink craftsmen. One of the largest spaces will be for a 60-seat restaurant called Fire and Brimstone. The "community-focused" restaurant, which will be operated by Johnston's son, James, will specialize in wood-fired cuisine. On the other end of barn you'll find Uprooted Kitchen, a "plant-based eatery" from Erin and Chad Romanoff. The couple has operated a food truck of the same name for several years, specializing in vegetarian and vegan food. 

The most exciting project for food and drink lovers, however, might be Garage East, an experimental winery that comes in part from Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas winery. The couple says Garage East will serve as a place for them to work on "agricultural preservation through fermentation" — think, fermented drinks made with grapes, of course, but also apples and honey. The "wines" created at Garage East will be "a la minute," Todd says. 

Finally, Johnston says Barnone will include a brewery, though he's not ready to release the name of the concept or who's behind it. 

Construction on Barnone started last week and is expected to be completed in November 2016. The complex should open by early December, before the opening of Epicenter, a mixed-use development also planned for the Agritopia neighborhood. 

For more information, check the Agritopia website.

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