Jul 27, 2022 - Food and Drink

Epicenter shops and restaurants get ready to open in Gilbert's Agritopia

Two men stand in front of a building with a sign that reads, "Epicenter."

William and Joe Johnston give a tour of Epicenter on Tuesday. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

Some of the Valley's biggest names in dining, fitness and retail are opening storefronts in east Gilbert.

What's happening: The development, dubbed Epicenter, is the first of its kind in the East Valley, with 320 luxury apartments over nearly 50,000 square feet of retail space.

Details: There will be about 20 restaurants, retailers and health and fitness businesses on the ground floor.

  • Valley staples like Matt's Big Breakfast, Buck & Rider, Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup, Peixoto Coffee Roasters, Spinato's Pizzeria and UnderTow will be among the tenants.
  • The trainers behind FunkFit and Cycle Ave. in downtown Gilbert will open a new concept called The Collective, which will include strength training, endurance classes and fitness recovery programs.
  • A barre studio, luxury IV lounge, salon and barbershop are also planned.

State of play: Epicenter is the newest addition to Agritopia — a unique neighborhood of nearly 500 homes, a retirement community, farmland, dozens of restaurants and, now, it's very own downtown.

  • Agritopia is the brainchild of Joe Johnston, whose family farmed the land before it evolved into what it is today.
  • Johnston was the co-founder of Coffee Plantation and has since opened some of Gilbert's most beloved restaurants, including Joe’s Real BBQ and Liberty Market.

What he's saying: "As development came our way we started thinking, 'Well, what should we do?' Most farmers just sell and move out further. But we decided to stay part of the land."

  • Johnston said he started planning for Epicenter almost 20 years ago.

What's next: One of the residential buildings is already open and nearly fully leased. The other will open early next year.

  • Most of the restaurants and businesses will open by the end of the year, with about four openings planned per month starting in August.

2 spots we can't wait to try: The restaurateurs behind Pa’La and Thai Chili 2 Go are opening an "ultra-Mediterranean" fast-casual restaurant called Source. They promise salads, rice dishes, sandwiches, pizza and natural wines.

  • The owners of The Sleepy Whale and The Theodore will open Beer Barn, a craft beer and wine bar in a rustic setting, in just a few weeks.

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