Welcome to Dining Guides, an intermittent series on the many dining hubs around the greater Phoenix area and what they have to offer. Breakfast to drinks, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today, we want to zero in on Gilbert's Heritage District.
The Heritage District in Gilbert is a walkable little cluster of popping breakfast and brunch spots, approachable barbecue and chicken joints, and fun walk-up windows like Topo. Here’s an eater's run-down of Gilbert Road.
Bergies Coffee Roast House309 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
For lovers of coffee and lawn decor, Bergies is a very inviting coffee shop known for its big, backyard-style patio. There are tables and chairs, birdhouses, wind chimes, and palo verde trees offering shade and pops of yellow in spring. It's like being on your favorite kooky aunt's back porch. Brothers and owners Brian and Bruce Bergeson are behind the roasts and coffee selections, and the place is slinging caffeine as early as 6 a.m. — 7 a.m. on Sundays.
Liberty Market230 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
This Heritage District restaurant has a full menu dedicated to first meal. There’s Chef David’s Breakfast Sandwich, buttermilk pancakes, and chilaquiles for starters. But for our vegan friends, it’s not all eggs and protein suggestions. The Smothered Vegan Breakfast Burrito at Liberty Market is your answer. The breakfast burrito is a flour tortilla packed with scrambled tofu and vegetables (usually diced sweet potatoes) and sautéed with peppers, onions, and tomatillo — plus it’s all smothered with tomatillo and chile pequin sauces. It’s filling, it's pretty, and it's a great way to start your day.
The Farmhouse Restaurant228 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
You won't find any breakfast innovations at this Gilbert eatery, but you will find hot coffee, friendly servers, two dozen varieties of omelets (in addition to the choice to design your own), and some of the best cinnamon rolls in town. Hidden in plain sight, The Farmhouse transports you far away from the burgeoning streets of downtown Gilbert and into a picture-perfect rural setting, where breakfast is always hearty and served with a smile. Ham steak and ground chuck patties come served with eggs your way — but whatever you do, save room to share one of the Farmhouse Famous Cinnamon Rolls.
Snooze: an AM Eatery310 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Breakfast doesn't get more fun than at Snooze. Diners can look forward to a retro-modern design and perks like free coffee and games while you wait for a table — which you almost always will do on weekend mornings. Once settled, select from options like pancakes, seasonal varieties of eggs Benedict, and a whole section dedicated to hollandaise sauce. There's also an impressive lineup of breakfast cocktails — Snooze offers not one, but four types of Bloody Marys and seven kinds of mimosas.
The Porch312 North Gilbert Road
The Porch sports bar’s third location in smackdab in the middle of the Heritage District. If thumping music and an airy front patio off Gilbert Road is your thing mid-morning, do head here. The crew had some fun putting together the brunch menu. Start with the Waffle Tenders, try the Mexico City Breakfast Bowl, or try the “adult version” of the Strawberry Cake Stack — a vanilla pound cake loaded with vodka-soaked strawberries and topped with Baileys Irish Cream.
Postino302 North Gilbert Road, #102, Gilbert
Postino is an Italian food and wine and beer joint with an expansive patio. Though the brunch menu is placed in front of you the moment you sit down, save yourself some time — go straight for the bruschetta and wine. Glasses of wine, mimosas, the white peach Bellini, and beer pitchers are $5 till 5 p.m., so you can go a little easy on your billfold. As for main eats, the brunch menu lists country toast, grilled focaccia, the farm scramble, and the morning staple — two eggs, bacon, walnut toast, and roasted potatoes. Postino brunch is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Whiskey Row323 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Not just a nightspot, Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row also offers a rowdy brunch. At the Backyard Brunch, order the Dierks Scramble, chicken and waffle sliders, and French toast stuffed with citrus cream cheese for the table. Brunch-appropriate cocktails include the Lipstick Collar, plus $7 Bloody Marys and mules, and $20 for mimosas with penny refills. But don't fret, you can work off that sugar with cornhole, Ping-Pong, and other yard games. Backyard Brunch is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Joe’s Real BBQ301 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Now in its third decade, Joe’s Real BBQ and owner Joe Johnson have expanded the menu for this Gilbert stalwart. Yes, there is still killer barbecue, but now there are more vegetarian and vegan options (as in smoked jackfruit substitutions) and sides like beet salad, spicy slaw, and braised greens from Agritopia — also in Gilbert. But for classic and longtime fans of the meat here, good news. There’s a new combo platter, plus a new sandwich called the Big Bad Wolf — rounding up pulled pork, pit ham, and rib meat on Texas toast, all held together with a knife. And weather permitting, the picnic tables in the “backyard” are always fun.
Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles366 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Does fried chicken sound good? Always? You’re in the right place. Go for the basic Lo-Lo's special here, which is three pieces of fried chicken paired with two fluffy waffles. You also can’t go wrong with orders of DVZ’s Hot Ghetto Mess, Uncle Brotha’s Shrimp and Grits, and Cool Bre Bre’s Chicken Salad. And if you don’t have to go back to the office, spring for the Lo-Lo’s Punch — red berry vodka, red Kool-Aid, and pineapple juice. You won’t regret it till much later.
SushiBrokers350 North Gilbert Road, #101, Gilbert
Tucked behind the main drag of Gilbert Road, SushiBrokers opens at 11 a.m. — just in time for a quick power lunch. Diners may start with edamame, spring rolls, and calamari, or go straight for the sushi options. The Hot Lips, caterpillar, and cowboy (or cowgirl) rolls come recommended. There are also salads for the carb-conscious and substantial options like the Brokers Burger or grilled mahi-mahi entrée. And if it’s a late lunch, happy hour starts at 3 p.m. daily, just FYI.
SoCal Fish Taco Company219 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
You can find California-inspired cuisine in downtown Gilbert. SoCal Fish Taco Company serves fish-heavy fare and craft beer in a beach-like environment, all owned by a family who live and work in Gilbert. The locally owned eatery is run by Pablo Reynoso, Jr. whose family first opened a seafood market in 1991. Expect shucked oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, ceviche tostadas, crab cakes, salads, wraps, and of course, fish tacos. There's also a shady patio.
Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen313 North Gilbert Road, #100, Gilbert
Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen plates and bowls items like seafood and okra gumbo, gator po’boys, muffuletta, shrimp baskets, grilled redfish, and the Fish Ponchartrain entrée. The new Creole cuisine restaurant also offers a brunch menu with orders like the Voodoo Benny and the Breakfast Bread Puddin', but you should definitely be eyeing the Brunch Beignets.
Zinburger344 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
A lunch burger is found almost anywhere, but if you want top-tier, Zinburger is recommended. The namesake Zinburger itself is Angus beef patty topped with Manchego cheese, zinfandel-braised onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise, but other suggested orders are the El Diablo or the build your own option. Sides come a la carte, and the zucchini fries are almost as famous as the burgers here. Salads, wings, and cocktails are also on deck.
Topo301 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
The soft serve ($2.50) is almost irresistible at Topo, even if you’re not a dessert person. Choices are vanilla, prickly pear, or twist. Um, prickly pear, please. What results is a tall spiral of mauve in a cute little cone. It’s so pretty it pains you to take a bite, but that bite is heavenly. The fruity soft serve is incredible to the last crunchy bite of the cone’s base. Dips are a fun accompaniment at 50 cents a pop. Choose from chocolate, lime, or prickly pear again. However, the soft serve is good enough to walk away sans dip.
Petersen’s Ice Cream & Cafe366 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
The adorable Petersen’s Ice Cream & Café has two locations — one in Chicagoland, and one in Gilbert. The ice cream shop was started by Hans Petersen in 1919, and now, you can scoop up even classic ice cream flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry while seated in pink and blue chairs on the sidewalk along Gilbert Road. For the more adventurous, additional flavors include Mackinac Island Fudge, Caramel Ripple, and New York Cherry.
Rocket Fizz350 North Gilbert Road, #105, Gilbert
It’s not all ice cream when it comes to a sugar rush in the Heritage District. Sneak back to Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop for mounds of by-the-piece candy and single-serving sodas. There are also toys and wacky signs, so if you bring kids in here, you’ve officially been warned.
Culinary Dropout383 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Set at the start (or the end) of the Heritage District, Culinary Dropout sits as Sam Fox’s sixth location of the warehouse-style eatery. The 25,000-square-foot space has indoor and outdoor seating, two private dining rooms, and yes, the Yard area with Ping-Pong, cornhole, and more. Happy hour is 2 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and offers everything from $4 well cocktails and draught pints to pork belly nachos and those famous pretzel balls.
Joyride Taco House302 North Gilbert Road
Joyride Taco House has that ideal after-work drinks vibe. Here, happy hour is weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and 2 p.m. to close on Taco Tuesday. Snag $2 tacos like the veggie, carne asada, or pork adobada, or go nuts with $3 tacos like crispy fish and chipotle shrimp. Ranch Waters (a fun adult beverage) are $5 a pop and come in raspberry mint and passion, while margs — like the blood orange, cucumber serrano, and strawberry hibiscus — are also $5 a pill.
Barrio Queen388 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Just need chips and salsa in the middle of the afternoon? Barrio Queen staff will sling ‘em out before you can even get in a drink order. The happy hour special here is $12 and consists of two tacos and the People’s Margarita — made with Dwayne T.R. Johnson’s Teremana Blanco Tequila, lime juice, and pineapple juice, agave nectar.
Pomo366 North Gilbert Road, #106, Gilbert
Gilbert Road’s sidewalks are heavily dotted with sandwich boards inviting pedestrians in for a quick drink, maybe a shareable snack. But Pomo’s deals, coupled with that clean, open-air bar, will definitely draw you in. Plus, a pearl-white Vespa will meet you at the entrance, making you feel very much in vacation mode, indeed. Dinner at this posh Italian eatery can offer gnocchi sorrentina, classic Italian cocktails like the beet-red aperol spritz, and the incredible quattro formaggi (a mean white pizza).
Copper 48366 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Copper 48 (formerly Nico Heirloom Kitchen) is the Heritage District’s upscale, chef-run restaurant, but friendly touches like the well-manicured patio and casual-but-elegant dining room make it fit right in. The dinner menu lists starters like burrata and octopus, house-made pasta, and mains like lamb, filet, short rib, and pan-roasted chicken. And don’t sleep on that Parmesan risotto. Couple your supper with a craft cocktail and watch Gilbert walk by from your seat on the patio.
Clever Koi384 North Gilbert Road, #101, Gilbert
The second location of this Asian-inspired restaurant welcomes you to head behind the main drag for imaginative cocktails and one of the best bowls of ramen in town. Clever Koi diners may dig in to those classic confit wings, share a plate of tuna chips, and go straight for the pork ramen or spicy seafood hot pot. And the cocktails should be half the reason you’re here. The menu is divided into shaken or stirred drinks, or one could spring for signature cocktails like the Lemongrass Swizzle, Always Always Bad News, or the Herbie Hancock.
Oregano’s328 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
This powerhouse of a local chain is super-inviting, which is probably why there’s an Oregano's in every corner of greater Phoenix. But for good reason. There's pizza, pasta, and wings, and signature dishes like Italian wedding soup, Italian fried zucchini, Mom’s Mac n' Cheese, and Lawrence’s Stuffed 'Shrooms. Plus, there are local beer options, craft cocktails, and certainly some wine.
Champions Sports Saloon211 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Champions Sports Saloon has been some sort of bar in Gilbert since the 1940s. Amenities include pool tables, TVs, darts, pinball, arcade games, and retro Arizona sports team posters. They also have snacks, a deep fryer, and a pizza oven, or you can bring in food from one of the many surrounding restaurants. Champions also hosts poker and dart leagues, plus other typical bar activities. The pennies on the bar are gone, but you'll still get a stiff drink at this neighborhood bar in the Heritage District.
Sotol Modern Cocktail Kitchen313 North Gilbert Road, #301, Gilbert
Sotol Modern Cocktail Kitchen in the Heritage District is the first rooftop restaurant and bar in the city of Gilbert. Arizona-inspired cocktails include the Passion of the Elote (with elote-infused vodka, passion fruit, cynar, jalapeño, and Peychaud) the Mesquite Smoked Old Fashioned, and the seasonal, ever-changing Tour D' Arizona drink. Meanwhile, the kitchen offers nopales fritas, Apache Soup, and Arizona Stew.
Level 1 Arcade Bar60 West Vaughn Avenue, #107, Gilbert
Though packed with 30 arcade games and 10 pinball machines, Level 1 Arcade Bar is no mall-era arcade complete with screaming kids and greasy joysticks. This is a sleek video game bar in downtown Gilbert. There’s craft beer on tap, cans and bottles of hard seltzer and cider, plus house cocktails like Flawless Victory, Scorpions Colada, and the Smash Bros. But if you do want a little mall-era with your evening, head for the Ultimate Mortal Kombat cabinet or the Jurassic Park pinball machine.
The White Rabbit Bar207 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
The ambiance of The White Rabbit Bar directly is pure Prohibition-era costume party. Bartenders and servers dress the part, there's jazz music and hung-up vintage portraits. To find the entrance, look for a doorman atop of descending staircase. Here's where you'll need a password. You can get it by joining their mailing list. When you're finally inside, choose from cocktails with names like Dead Men Don’t Bite, Ghost On The Sea, and Chasing Lemurs. Or try the bartender's specialty — you select a spirit, they do the rest.
O.H.S.O. Brewery335 North Gilbert Road, #102, Gilbert
Brought to you by another sandwich board, O.H.S.O. has the kitchen open till midnight for you late-nighters. The two-story Gilbert location runs the late-night menu from 10 p.m. till the next calendar day rolls over. It offers $5 cheese curds, crab wontons, and pretzels with green chile cheese. For something heavier, order the brisket fries, the PBJ burger, and maybe one last local beer or two. There are definitely worse ways to end your night in the Heritage District.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on May 17, 2019. It was updated on March 31, 2021.
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