Seriously ... Gilbert? That was my first thought when I learned Postino was extending its reach out there to the far East Valley (yeah, I'm a Central Phoenix guy).
Despite my apprehension, I got outta the bubble and ventured way past the strip malls and tract homes of varying shades of beige to check out Lauren Bailey and Craig DeMarco's new restaurant venture. After visiting the new location and talking with Bailey, I'm coming around to the idea that Gilbert (or Gilbertucky as I've heard it referred to) may in fact have something to offer.
"We've had our eyes on this area of town for a long time," says Bailey. "There are a lot of cool people that live down here, and they want something to go to that's not Chili's."
There are definitely plenty of chain restaurants in the area waiting to chew up and spit out your foodie soul, but it's not as if Postino is the first good restaurant to make its way to Gilbert. Joe's Real BBQ and Liberty Market are both located literally within a stone's throw from Postino East.
"We're big fans of Joe Johnston and what he's doing with Liberty Market and Joe's BBQ," says Bailey, adding that the Gilbert Farmer's Market takes place directly behind the new restaurant under the old-school water tower.
The new Postino will have eight wines on tap behind the bar, four red and four white, along with an expansive wall of bottled wines. There will also be several different types of beer on tap.
Bailey was particularly excited about the kitchen. She pointed out a double panini press, something they don't have in any of the other locations. The new space also has a walk-in refrigerator.
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Postino East's grand opening is scheduled for Monday, March 19th. There will also be a "first look" opening tomorrow, Saturday, March 17th from 2-5 p.m. to benefit the Gilbert Public School's partnership with the Arizona Brainfood organization, which helps to feed hungry school children.
The "first look" event is open to the public, but the whole point is to not only get people to Postino, but to raise money for a good cause. Donations of $25 for adults and $10 for children will be collected at the door. In exchange, you get to enjoy some good wine, bruschetta, and live music. And if the weather is anything like it's been lately, you'll get to enjoy a nice day out of the house too, even if you have to drive 30 miles to get there. Just put the windows down.
Other Postino locations include the original spot on East Campbell, and the Central Phoenix location just north of Camelback Road on Central Ave. Clustered along Central are Windsor Bar and Churn, also owned by Bailey and DeMarco.