La Ristra, a new restaurant with Spanish flare, has opened in Gilbert.

It will celebrate its grand opening with a Hatch green chile roasting party Sept. 6-8.

The father and son owners of La Ristra are heading out to New Mexico and coming back with about 7,000 pounds of chile to roast right on the front deck of their new restaurant.

The Gabaldons — both father and son are named John — will be torching the chiles in the roaster until the skins are blistering and ready to eat. Guests can purchase them at the event to take home.

The weekend will also be spiced up with live entertainment, food and drink specials, a ribbon cutting ceremony and flamenco dancer Yumi La Rosa on Saturday night.

“We embrace the traditions of New Mexico with a strong emphasis in Spanish styles, from our cooking to the décor,” says son John Gabaldon.

The younger Gabaldon was born in Spain after his father was stationed there with the United States Air Force. La Ristra will combine his mother’s Spanish heritage and his father’s New Mexican traditions.

The Gabaldons are relatives of the owners of renowned local New Mexican-style kitchen chain Los Dos Molinos.

“These recipes come from my great grandmother and (have been) passed down through the years,” Gabaldon says.

The New Mexican chiles are used to marinate meats and infuse many of the dishes served up at La Ristra. Even the restaurant’s name, “la ristra” is a wreath of chiles used for décor that is typically seen in New Mexico.

La Ristra even has a little Native American twist in the menu, Gabaldon says.

More than 150 different types of tequila line the walls and hallways of the 5,000-square-foot restaurant, and La Ristra is giving their guests a unique way to taste them all.

For $20 guests can become a member of the “Agave Club.” Included in this fee is a locally sand-blasted and personally engraved snifter glass, a shot of “La Ristra Barrel” tequila (aged locally in American Oak barrels), and a check-list of every tequila in La Ristra. Members will receive 10 percent off tequilas. Frequent discounts on food, events and tastings are offered to Agave Club members.

Gabaldon says the Agave Club has acquired nearly 100 members in the two weeks La Ristra has been open.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6349 or

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