Happy Hour

Brio Tuscan Grille: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: Brio Tuscan Grille, San Tan Village Mall, 2150 E. Williams Field Rd. Suite 118, Gilbert, 480-917-9177,

There is another location at 15301 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale.

The Hours: Monday through Friday 3-7 pm and then again from 9 pm to close.

The Details: While we were surprised that they offer no drink specials, we were delighted by Brio's menu called Tuscan Tasters, which features a variety of hearty appetizers for $2.95 each. The standouts on this menu include the Steak Bruschetta ($2.95), with a balsamic sweetness to it, and the Sausage and Pepperoni Flatbread ($2.95), with its thin crispy crust, was easy to eat and very flavorful. The servers, weaving their way through the crowd of people waiting for tables, were helpful and ever present. They seemed to work as a team, and help each other run food, fill water, and give other general support. Each of them claimed the Brio Burger with homemade chips ($2.95) to be their favorite.

The Interior: Brio is decked out in Tuscan-style gold hues, polished wood, and is open and 

​breezy. Touches of marble and prints of classic Italian art lend the place a formal feel though the dress code is casual. Located on a corner adjacent to the Apple Store and next to Barnes and Noble, Brio has patio seating as well as dining room booths. The bar has limited seating and can get crowded during happy hour while people are waiting to grab a table as soon someone leaves.

The Cost: The Tuscan Tasters Menu has a wide variety of filling favorites for $2.95 each. While the food is a great deal, there are no happy hour discounts on beer, wine, or drinks. Every Thursday they offer Martinis for $2 off the regular price. Wine by the glass starts around $6.25. If you are hungry, you can get four items from the Tuscan Tasters menu for $12.

The Conclusion: The Gilbert location's bar is a bit tight and on a chilly winter evening when 

​the weather makes the patio undesirable, it can get crowded as people stand around and wait for someone to leave in this seat-yourself section. The competition for seating and pressure of having people survey your table and try to get a take on how long they think you will be before you pay and evacuate takes some of the happy out of the hour. Lack of seating and no drink specials are a definite drawback. On a higher note, Brio is one of the few Italian places in the valley that serve up Beef Carpaccio ($2.95). This disappeared fast at our table despite the generous the helping. The Fried Raviolis ($2.95) also come in a generous portion, and they make the spinach-ricotta filling in house. 

Overall Grade: B

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Michelle Martinez