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Friday, April 16, 2010

A Gem in Gilbert - Liberty Market

When I first started researching restaurants in the Phoenix area, I kept coming across the name, Joe Johnston. Not only did he start Coffee Plantation (before Starbucks hit Phoenix), which I remembered as a top place to get coffee on the ASU campus, but he’s been quite busy on the restaurant front too. One of his three restaurants, Liberty Market, was an instant love for me.

I met my friend, Angela, at Liberty Market in Gilbert for breakfast. We’re related, in the in-law sense, but I’m unsure of how to title it (second cousin-in-law perhaps?). Whatever you call it, we've known each other for many years.  When she suggested Liberty Market, I immediately said yes.  Gilbert is only about 20-25 minutes from Scottsdale on the freeway, so it was no problem getting there.

We lined up at the E61 Bar knowing one thing for sure: we both wanted and needed coffee.

(our awesome barista)

Angela suggested I try the Liberty Market specialty, a Cortadito, which is described on the menu as a “Cuban micro-latte”. It is espresso brewed with half and half poured over raw sugar. It can be ordered as one shot, two shots or a bowl (three shots of espresso). To avoid being totally wired, I went for the two shot.

Yep, it was literally served in shot glasses with the raw sugar at the bottom. After a little stir, I was in coffee heaven. It was SO good. Smooth with the perfect bitterness from the espresso and a little sweetness from the raw sugar, I almost wished I had ordered the bowl. So good!

Angela had already eaten breakfast, so she went for the Salmon Plate with chilled cured salmon, greens, olive tapenade and lemon olive oil. It smelled incredibly refreshing, so I grabbed a bite.

The salmon wasn’t fishy at all and the salad was quite light with a lemony flavor. I hear that for an upcharge you can substitute grilled veggies for the bread crisps. I love healthy options!

My breakfast wasn’t as healthy, but it was certainly delicious. I ordered the Sicilian Scramble which was made with local Schreiner’s Italian sausage, oven roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh herbs. It was served alongside a biscuit and a generous helping of Liberty potatoes (smothered in cheese). Props for serving honey with the biscuit as it’s my favorite biscuit topping.

I absolutely have to try adding oven roasted tomatoes to my next egg scramble. They added just the perfect punch of tang to cut into the richness of the cheese and eggs. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t finish the entire plate.

After breakfast, Angela had to dash, but not before insisting I check out the bathrooms. I thought I was going to be punked. Was the “restrooms” sign just a farce? Did it lead to a dungeon? Besides the fact that I had to pee, I was also dying to find out just what she had alluded to.

The bathrooms were unisex stalls that were completely enclosed top to bottom (talk about privacy!) AND they played music when you entered the stall, but stopped when you left the stall. COOL! And yes, I totally opened and shut the door as if I discovered a new toy. Music on, music off…

Not only that, but the owner, Joe Johnston, designed each stall himself to be completely unique. While one stall had a Vespa wheel and murals of Italy:

Another stall was covered in hand written recipes.

I had fun ducking into each stall and snapping pictures.  Only one person caught me and he simply shook his head and smiled.

When I was done having my fun, I holed up at an outside table, grabbed a Fentimans Ginger Beer and used the free wifi.

Next time I’m in the Phoenix area, you better believe I’m making a trip back to Liberty Market. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of the Cortadito coffees.


  1. Glad you liked it so much! And yes, the bathrooms are pretty awesome. Did you see the ones at Joe's Farm Grill?

  2. Grandma Barb4/16/2010 9:57 AM

    Liberty is one of my favorite "sister" places also, have spent some wonderful moments there.

  3. I live within biking distance to this place, so ending with breakfast here is a perfect end to a long ride. The salmon plate is my go-to fave, but the sandwiches and pizza are just to die for. I love this place because you can order coffee, french press style, and they bring it to your table and press it before your eyes! Joe definitely knows what he's doing with the restaurant business!


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