Joe's Farm Grill

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3000 E. Ray Road, Gilbert

Joe Johnston of Joe's Real Barbecue converted his childhood home into a retro-cool, 60s-era grill, surrounded by green lawn and shade trees. Customers line up to place their orders at the counter, then wait, timers in hand, for top-notch burgers, dogs, fries, pizza, chicken in a basket, milk shakes, sundaes and lots, lots more. The slogan at Joe's is "common food done uncommonly well," and it's so very true. As you watch your burger being assembled, you see how red the tomatoes are, how crisp the lettuce, how fluffy the buns. Johnston and crew sweat the details, making interesting house-made dressings for the salads (green goddess, smoked corn vinaigrette), offering pineapple-serrano dipping sauce for the sweet potato fries and using two imported chocolates for the hot fudge. Naturally, there's barbecue too, smoked low and slow over select hardwoods, just as it is at Joe's. There's a kid's menu too, and you'll want to bring the rugrats, if for no other reason than to let them run off a little steam outside. Joe's reminds us how yummy the simple all-American food we grew up on can really be. Lunch and dinner daily. $