Family’s Midwestern farm roots on display at The Gilbert House

Susan Wright at The Gilbert House
Susan Wright said she did about every job available in the restaurant business, which proved valuable in running her own place, The Gilbert House. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Susan Wright said she did about every job available in the restaurant business, which proved valuable in running her own place, The Gilbert House. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
The Two-Egg Breakfast ($9.95) is popular at The Gilbert House, Susan Wright said. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The Free-Range Buffalo Burger ($14) is a healthy choice of lean, range-fed buffalo from the Cheyenne River Ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Optional Ingredients include cheese, green chilis, mushrooms, grilled onions at $1 per ingredient. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Susan Wright, having spent many years in the restaurant business, said she long had wanted to open her own place. But in her restaurateur dreams, she did not envision a breakfast-and-lunch eatery.

“Never, ever,” she said. “I barely like eggs.”

That confession belies her formative years growing up on a South Dakota dairy farm. But nothing else about her restaurant, The Gilbert House, does.

The farmhouse setting and minimalist decor are in line with her Midwestern upbringing, she said. And so is the menu of breakfast and lunch favorites that feature farm-fresh ingredients with everything homemade.

“People always ask me, ‘Where’s your gluten-free menu?’” Wright said. “We don’t add anything to our food here. We make all our own sauces. There’s no flour in any of our sauces, our apple syrup, our caramel sauce, our green chili sauce. Pretty much anything can be gluten-free.”


Wright said she feels blessed to have the location in the Farmhouse Village on Gilbert Road, just south of the Heritage District.

Wright had been looking for a place to open a restaurant 18 years ago when she read that Ruth Gieszl, once a notable member of the Gilbert community, was going to rent out the farm buildings on her family’s property.

“So I whipped up some cinnamon rolls and went and knocked on her door, like you would in South Dakota. And surprisingly, she answered it, and she invited me in—which to this day I still think is funny,” Wright said.

Soon enough, she had rented the property, which already had a history as a breakfast spot. That led her into making The Gilbert House a breakfast-and-lunch restaurant.

Wright made the place in the traditions of her family, and although the restaurant is hers, her whole family has contributed. One brother built the restaurant tables. She uses the beer from another brother’s Walter Station Brewery in Phoenix. She imports buffalo meat from her sister’s buffalo ranch in South Dakota. Children and grandchildren have hosted, served and cooked. And many of the recipes are favorites of her from family members or restaurants where she previously has worked.

“Collectively, it’s kind of like that’s what I want to eat,” she said. “I want to serve people what I want to eat, and I don’t want to serve them anything that I wouldn’t [eat]. That puts the bar pretty high.”

Where’s the beef?

While you can eat beef at The Gilbert House, a signature of the restaurant is the use of bison meat from Wright’s sister’s ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Wright touts the meat’s healthier qualities.

  • Lower in fat

  • Lower in calories

  • Higher in protein

  • High in Omega-3


The Gilbert House

397 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert

480-507-3383

www.gilberthouserestaurant.com

Hours: Tue.-Sun. 7 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Mon.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.



MOST RECENT

Atomic Comics
Atomics Comics reborn at SanTan Village in Gilbert

It marks the return of a popular comic book store chain in the Phoenix area that opened in 1988 but closed its four stores in 2011 in bankruptcy

Western Canal
Town narrows Western Canal pipeline solutions to 4

Some residents said after the Nov. 15 meeting they believe the town will just decide to use its original preferred solution of using eminent domain to claim the town’s easements on their property,

Casino rendering
New casino near Gilbert should bring jobs to area

A new 160-acre, $150 million casino is expected to open a couple miles west of Gilbert town limits within the next two years.

Jennifer Gallego, Tap Dragon Craft Beer & Wine Bar interiror
Tap Dragon Craft Beer & Wine Bar opens in Gilbert

Tap Dragon offers local craft beers and a rotating wine list, meads and ciders.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Jim Torgeson, who owns a Mesa sign-making business, filed the suit in Maricopa County Superior Court, naming the Town of Gilbert and each member of the town council in their capacity as a council member. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
Sign maker seeks annulment of Gilbert bond election in lawsuit

A Gilbert resident and critic of the town’s $515 million streets, transportation and infrastructure bond filed suit Nov. 22, alleging his free speech rights were violated and asking the election results be annulled.

Now open
Three businesses that have opened in Gilbert

Here are three businesses that have opened recently in Gilbert.

Nursing data
Gilbert’s hospitals grapple with nursing shortage

The hospital systems serving Gilbert—as with Arizona and the remainder of the nation—say they are battling the effects of a nursing shortage exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Gilbert police officers
Police officers recognized at Gilbert Community Excellence Awards

A group of police officers who assisted in stopping a felony suspect’s attempted escape received the Tim Dorn Public Safety Award on Nov. 18 at the 25th annual Gilbert Community Excellence Awards.

Santan Mountain Casino is set to open in the next 24-26 months just outside of Chandler. (Courtesy Steelman Partners)
New casino to open near Chandler; median home prices up more than 25% across Gilbert in Sept. and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Chandler and Gilbert areas.

Gilbert Days will bring a series of road restrictions and closures to town Nov. 20. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gilbert Days Parade, races to bring street closures Nov. 20

The annual Gilbert Days Parade, and Gilbert Half Marathon and 10K will take place Nov. 20, resulting in road restrictions and closures throughout Gilbert.