Welcome to the 2018 edition of The Essentials, our catalog of indispensable and quintessential Phoenix food and drink. From now until May, we'll be sharing 50 dishes, drinks, and food experiences that make up the culinary backbone (and personality) of metro Phoenix. This list is highly eclectic, mixing classics with newer and lesser-known favorites. But all The Essentials have one thing in common: We think they're required eating (and drinking) in metro Phoenix.
14: Barnone at Agritopia
Where can you find Arizona brewers, vintners, pizza-makers, and all manner of locally made handcrafted goods, all gathered (more or less) under the same roof in Gilbert?
You'll find it at Barnone, the hyper-local food and drink hub that opened in late 2016 in Gilbert. Barnone is the brainchild of Joe Johnston, the Gilbert native and "ideas man" who also founded Agritopia, the tony urban farm village located on the northwest corner of Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert.
Barnone, if you haven't visited yet, is situated in a vintage barn that at one time stored the Johnston family's farm equipment. Today, the industrial-chic space is home to a wine bar, a brewery, florist, salon, stationery store, gun-smithing shop, and two eateries.
In addition to the newer Barnone dining options, Agritopia is also home to long-running Joe's Farm Grill and The Coffee Shop.
It's unwise to visit Barnone on a full stomach. You'll want to come primed to sample the goods, including the Arizona-made libations at Garage-East, Barnone's resident winemaker. Owners Brian and Megan Ruffentine source their fruit from Elgin and Willcox in southeast Arizona, and concoct interesting blends that reflect various stages of the fermentation process. The thing to try at least once is the Breakfast Wine, a lightly sweet, citrusy wine that features a rotating blend of seasonal fruit.
If beer is more your speed, there's 12 West Brewery, where head brewer Noel Garcia and business partner Bryan McCormick are brewing a well-rounded lineup that includes the ultra-smooth Suh Dude Brown Ale, and a very dark, pleasantly bitter Oatmeal Coffee Stout.
You can soak up all the booze with a visit to Fire and Brimstone, James Johnston's counter-service, wood-fired eatery, which serves pizza, sandwiches and salads. The signature pie is the spicy-savory Fire & Brimstone pie, made with juicy homemade merguez sausage and jalapeño rounds. For a small upcharge, they'll even throw a fried egg on top.
Barnone also offers vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options. You'll find most of these at The Uprooted Kitchen, Chad and Erin Romanoff's "plant-based eatery." The menu changes regularly, but you can count on nourishing dishes like a quinoa breakfast bowl or buckwheat crepes served with seasonal veggies.
Barnone showcases the spirit and flavors of the southeast Valley's upper-crust "agrihood" scene in a convenient and charming space. Whether you're a longtime Gilbert resident, or you haven't been to Gilbert since it was better known as the Hay Capital of the World, a visit is well worth your time.
Barnone at Agritopa, 3000 East Ray Road, Gilbert, 480-988-1238, Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed Monday
The Essentials So Far: 50: Soul food platter at Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles
49: The Bear at Short Leash Hot Dogs + Rollover Doughnuts
48: Grilled squid and other specialties at Andreoli Italian Grocer
47: I-10 Nachos at Cocina 10
46: Coffee made from ROC2 beans
45: The Haturo Sub Sandwich at Cheese 'n Stuff
44: Zookz at Zookz
43: Jade Red Chicken at Chino Bandido
42: Tasting menu at Quiessence at The Farm
41: Single-origin Papua New Guinea Bar at Zak's Chocolate
40: Green chile at Casa Reynoso
39: Brûlée burger from Paradise Valley Burger Company
38: Hand-pulled noodles from China Magic Noodle House
37: Carne adovada sliders at Dick's Hideaway
36: Crispy Pig Ear and Amaro cocktails from Crudo
35: Chile-laced specialties from Cafe Ga Hyang
34: Martinis at AZ88
33: Nooner at Duck & Decanter
32: Eggs Maximilian at Harlow's Cafe
31: Beef Tacos from Asadero Norte De Sonora
30: Orange Blossom from Huss Brewing Company
29: Rye bread from Yasha From Russia
28: Scotch Beef and Mashed Potatoes from Tarbell's
27: Griddled Corn Cakes and Ramona Farms Super Food Salad at Phoenix City Grille
26: Soup from Reathrey Sekong
25: Lamb tongue sandwich at Haji Baba
24: The Special at Grand Avenue Pizza Company
23: Red chile at Elmer's Tacos
22: Marranitos at La Purisima Bakery
21: Kronuts from Karl's Bakery
20: Beef pies at Chou's Kitchen
19: Bavarian pretzels & schnitzel at Haus Murphy's
18: Red chili burro and sopapillas from Los Dos Molinos
17: Camelback Soda at The Sugar Bowl
16: Brisket Sandwich at Chelsea's Kitchen
15: Taco Hazz from Ta'Carbon 14: Barnone at Agritopia
14: Barnone at Agritopia
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