Grubstak Opens in Heritage Marketplace December 5 by Lynette Carrington Grubstak Opens in Heritage Marketplace December 5December 5 marks the grand opening of Grubstak in the newly developed Heritage Marketplace in Historic Downtown Gilbert. The last few years have been a hotbed of restaurant and retail build-out activity in the area and Grubstak is an incredibly unique and welcome addition to the area. The restaurant’s concept centers around “staks,” many of which are served up hot and fresh in a generously sized handled skillet. Welcome, Grubstak!Grubstak is the brainchild of founder Colton Grubb (grandson of iconic Valley car dealer, Lou Grubb, and son of entrepreneur and partner, Dan Grubb) and COO and chef, Seth Widdes. The Grubstak concept was born as an idea in 2014 and after an extensive search, the Heritage Marketplace location was decided upon to be the home of the Valley’s newest culinary concept. “I grew up in Central Phoenix and outside of sports, I had no reason to come to come out here,” says Grubb. He has since discovered the vibrant community and business potential in the Historic District and has embraced the area with open arms. The restaurant itself is spacious, open and airy, and has a slightly urban farm feel with dangling pendant lights, prolific accents in green, reclaimed wood accents and a smattering of community tables. The incorporation of a large roll-up garage door style window and inviting patio are incredibly inviting and open out into the surrounding center, beckoning all to join the Grubstak world. Considering that Grubb’s grandfather, Lou was a potato farmer in New York prior to coming to Arizona, the restaurant’s décor theme and potato-embracing staks are a nice homage, while also being a wonderful compliment to Gilbert’s own farming heritage.The Grubstak MenuKnowing that he would be spending a lot of time in a newly opened restaurant, Grubb wanted to have a menu that incorporated some comfort-style food, and healthy fare, too. “It was important for me to have both of those options,” says Grubb. The from-scratch kitchen produces freshly made entrees each day, including a house made vegetarian chili that is outstanding!The menu consists of Signature Staks that are built on a base of 50/50 waffle fries (sweet potato and regular potato). From there, the creative staks include eight Signature Staks such as The Grubstak-50/50 waffle fries, Schreiner’s breakfast sausage, pork belly, cheddar cheese, Grub gravy topped with a fried egg, the Chillax with 50/50 waffle fries, black bean chili, braised beef ribs, cheddar cheese and sour cream, and the Sweet Lou’s BBQ with 50/50 waffle fries, BBQ braised beef pork belly and coleslaw. Or, you can create Grub Your Way by picking and choosing from the extensive list of fresh ingredients, proteins and sauces, to make a meal to suit your own craving.During our visit we noshed on the Chillax Signature Stak. The combination of waffle fries, black bean chili braised beef rib meat and sour cream topped with cheddar cheese is a complete meal unto itself, and the orchestration of flavors was superb. Instead of tasting like a mish mash of food, each and every ingredient was able to stand on its own and compliment the skillet. The fun style of food at Grubstak makes it a destination restaurant. A non-meat version of the stak is the Grubatouille with roasted root veggies, parmesan crusted zucchini and yellow squash with tomato sauce. Be forewarned that the Signature Staks are stacked, so you won’t leave hungry! Both gluten-free and vegetarian stak options are also readily available.Garden Stak salads include the Caesar, Caprese, the Ultimate and the Power. These salads are fabulous and fit the bill if you are eating healthy – no waffle fries in sight in the salads. The Power Garden Stak includes a bed of quinoa, with roasted root veggies, kale, basil pesto and roasted chicken.Grubchettas are Grubstak’s unique spin on a bruchetta style sandwich. One of the most fun (and nostalgic) Grubchettas is the Mac Attack - mac n’ cheese and tomato chetta with more mac, served with shishito pesto. This is the item I will indulge in on my next visit as it smacks of a reinvention of one of my all-time favorite lunches, a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. I can’t wait!If you are able to achieve the daunting task of saving room for dessert, you’ll have a couple of yummy Dessert Stak options. The Sweet as Honey is a mound of sweet potato waffle fries, kissed with cinnamon and sugar, drizzled with sweet chili honey (which imparts just the slightest tasty kick), and then topped off with whipped cream. This is a perfect dessert for a table to share! The other dessert is the Give Me S’more – a cinnamon graham cracker bread pudding, with marshmallow fudge sauce and bruleed marshmallow. The Wrap-upWhat I took away from the grand opening event is that Grubb and Widdes put a lot of passion and forethought into what they have created. The location is a hot one (look for it just a wee bit west of Gilbert Road), the food concept is unique, but not off-the-charts unusual, and the décor is inviting and fun. Grubstak is great place for families, couples, or to just to go hang out with friends before a movie or a show at nearby Hale Centre Theatre. Grubstak is one East Valley restaurant that is simply a must-try!Hours at Grubstak are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday. Grubstak is located at 384 N. Gilbert Rd. #106, Gilbert. Visit www.grubstak.com or call (480) 418-9560 for additional information.