The owner of the Valley-based Postino WineCafe family is hoping to add some charm to the heart of downtown Gilbert with the opening of another destination establishment in a building that has sat empty for a few years now.
It’s often been said that the building the new Postino East WineCafe — set to open for business Monday at 11 a.m. — will sit in rests on a cursed corner. That’s because of the revolving door of rive restaurants on the site, located at located at 302 N. Gilbert Road and known as the former GrainBelt building since 1997 — many with reputations of overpriced food.
But Postino’s owner, Craig DeMarco, has inked a 20-year lease with Scottsdale-based Oakmark Properties for a 2,500-square-foot portion of the building, and he hopes the opening of Postino East will bring a little good luck to the area.
Demarco had hoped to open the business in January, but Mike Bennan, president of Oakmark Properties, underwent an extensive renovation on the building to change the interior’s design and solidify a presence in an area of the town’s Heritage District filled with landmarks.
Postino East will be nestled near Joe’s Real BBQ, Liberty Market, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, and the Hale Centre Theatre, and its patio will look out toward the town’s water tower.
DeMarco said that he began considering the location about two-and-a-half years ago, adding that the location fits in with the business’ site requirements: residential area, pedestrian traffic, new interior design.
“This location really felt right ... My wife and I grew up in the East Valley and we’re excited to open a business here,” said DeMarco, a graduate of Marcos De Niza High School in Tempe; his wife a Mesa Mountain View High School grad. “I don’t know the reasons why previous restaurants failed here, but I think smaller-scale restaurants are more in fashion, and I think the new design of the building will add to its success.
“We were recruited by Gilbert’s economic development department before Mike Bennan bought the building, and we’ve been welcomed to the neighborhood by the other business owners.”
DeMarco also said he believes the success of the business will be bolstered by business partner Tory DeMarce, who will be on-site at the Gilbert location.
Oakmark bought the building in the summer of 2010, according to records at the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office.
The building where Postino East will sit originally opened as Mahogany Run in 1997, and later was the Hearthrob Cafe’ and the GrainBelt GrillHouse, which closed in 2008.
The sentiments of Greg Tilque, development services director for the Town of Gilbert, echoed Demarco’s thoughts.
“It’s a great intersection,” Tilque said. “This area really is a destination for people coming to downtown, and we’re excited and looking forward to Postino coming to Gilbert. It’s a successful business in Phoenix, and we believe that it will make a nice addition here. They’ve been working with the city getting the needed permits, which has been a relatively quick process.”
Postino East will be DeMarco’s third Valley location. He first opened Postino WineCafe in the East Phoenix Arcadia neighborhood in April 2001 and one in downtown Phoenix in 2009. The Gilbert location will feature a lounge area and an outdoor patio. The business can accommodate larger gatherings including live music and wedding events. It will offer the same menu offered at its Phoenix locations with most prices being under $13, including bruschetta, panini, soups and salads, all made with local ingredients and artisan breads. Brunch will be available on Saturday and Sunday. Thirty-six wines will be available by the glass and 100 by the bottle. Postino, which claims to be the first wine bar in the Valley to serve wine on tap, will offer six wines on tap at Postino East. A kids menu also will be available.