Here's everything you need to know about East Valley.
Where To Stay & Game
This year, Gila River Resorts & Casinos transitioned its Wild Horse Pass location from a hotel to a resortlike staycation. The $180 million expansion welcomes a new tower with 200 rooms, two pools, an event center, a BetMGM Sportsbook, the only Topgolf Swing Suite in the state of Arizona and Prime, A Shula’s Steakhouse on the rooftop. “When out-of-towners plan a trip to Phoenix, they usually think [of visiting] Scottsdale. We want to change that narrative and have them experience Chandler,” says Daniela Vizcarra, the Chandler-based resort’s public relations manager. “We [also] want them to think of us before planning a trip to Vegas.” With a newly amended tribal gaming compact, Arizonans can now experience Las Vegas-style table games including roulette, craps and baccarat. Gamers can also put their bet on Prime. Sitting on the 11th-floor roof of the Sunrise Tower, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the Estrella Mountains all while indulging in its nontraditional steakhouse menu.
Where To Eat
Bourbon & Bones’ highly anticipated second location at SanTan Village is on everyone’s dining list this year. Part of restaurant group Square One Concepts, the restaurant is pleased to deliver its unique brand of contemporary steakhouse, featuring elegant yet unpretentious fine dining, to the East Valley. “The East Valley is a strong, bustling region and some have considered it an underserved area for years,” says S. Barrett Rinzler, founder of Square One Concepts and owner of Bourbon & Bones. “We prepared for the opening of Bourbon & Bones at SanTan Village in Gilbert for more than a year, all the while recognizing that the area has a sophisticated population that has often traveled to Scottsdale for a fabulous steak and fine dining experience. We’re happy to say that now they don’t need to.” On any given day, you can order the Japanese A5-9 Wagyu—a true delicacy. Pair it with the Michter’s smoked rye Manhattan or, for wine lovers, a Paradigm cabernet, and enjoy. 2150 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert, bourbonandbonesaz.com
Where To Relax
The height of skincare, Olivespa sells oil-based products made from extra virgin olive oil packed with antioxidants and vitamins with incredible benefits including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and even anti-aging properties. “Using EVOO directly on your skin is one of the most nourishing and natural forms of moisturization,” says Joanna Rea, Olivespa’s director, “so you can feel good about what you’re feeding your skin.” Discover how the new additions to its line continue to prove that locally sourced olive oil—from Rea’s backyard garden and its Queen Creek Olive Mill—may be what every East Valley resident’s skin has been craving. 25062 Meridian Road, Queen Creek, olivespa.com
Where To Shop
Gilbert’s Epicenter is booming with local shops and eateries at residents’ fingertips. A new antique furniture store is opening in spring 2023, inspired by design and friendship. At Vintage Home (vintagehome.store), Agritopia residents Richele Ames and her husband have been buying, restoring and reselling antique furniture for over 30 years. Her pieces are sourced from many different locations including thrift stores, antique swap meets, estate sales and customers who sell pieces to her. “I research the styles of furniture that are popular for home decor. Then, I search for pieces that fit the trend,” she says. “For example, modern farmhouse and midcentury modern furniture is the trend now. So, I look for those styles of furniture to buy, fix up and resale.” You may have seen her and her restored pieces in the Merchant Square Antique Marketplace in Chandler. “On many occasions, while working in the booth, I have met returning customers and built friendships with them. This aspect, coupled with successful sales, inspired me to build a shop of my own.” Ames says her love for restoring antique furniture to its former glory is not the only reason for her new store. The friendships she has created throughout the process have also inspired her to push her dreams forward and make them a reality.
For Dinner & Drinks
If you’re looking for a new twist on Asian cuisine, look no further. Staying true to its modern Asian with an American flair roots, Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill (lingandlouies.com) in Chandler has added delicious dishes across its entire menu while upgrading its cocktail, beer and wine list. “We can’t wait for our guests to experience the new Ling & Louie’s while celebrating the past. It’s a bold new take on our cocktails and dishes and definitely stays true to our motto: Ling & Louie’s is not for boring people,” says owner John Banquil. With seven new cocktails, guests will find a variety of drinks that will amaze and delight, such as the house-favorite New Wave Piña Colada. “It gives such a unique twist on the classic tropical cocktail that guests find refreshing and delicious,” says Banquil. The Smokey Toki has also become a favorite of cocktail connoisseurs. “It combines Japanese whisky with unique ingredients, plus it’s smoked tableside with cherry wood,” he says. In addition to elevated spirits, a new sushi menu will delight along with new dishes on the menu including the Vietnamese shaking beef—a dish that guests shouldn’t leave without trying. “With unique flavors and delicious ingredients,” Banquil says, “I truly believe it is one of the best dishes we have added to our menu.”
Where To Get Fit
Whether you are new to working out or a longtime fitness fanatic, barre3’s (barre3.com) new Gilbert Epicenter facility is the perfect place for East Valley residents to find full-body workouts that will leave them feeling stronger than ever before. “Our mission is to help people feel balanced in body and empowered from within, and how an individual gets there is a journey all their own,” says owner Andrea Laughlin. With combined elements of cardio, strength conditioning and mindfulness, clients are pushed to listen to their body and focus on what they need based on their workout goals. When asked about the benefits of a barre3 workout, Laughlin says that clients have shared stories of “weight loss, better focus, more stamina and energy, less anxiety, toned muscles, and better overall wellness and mood.” And, with a barre3 unlimited membership, clients receive many perks such as unlimited classes, full access to online workouts, discounted childcare at its Play Lounge and more. “[Having an empowered workout] along with the uplifting energy of our staff and community is what truly sets us apart,” she says.
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (mesaartscenter.com) has a new lineup of five exhibits that center on the theme Make Your Mark. “From paper to alternative canvases like walls, artists physically make marks to create art,” says Tiffany Fairall, the museum’s chief curator. “The theme plays on a larger call to action to make your mark in society and have a purpose-driven life.” Headlining MCA Museum’s fall season through Jan. 22 is cultural provocateur Ron English with exhibit Living in Delusionville, featuring 37 of the “Godfather of Street Art’s” paintings and sculptures from the last decade. Running through Dec. 4 is The Moleskin Project, a collection of sketchbooks from over 100 emerging and established artists, curated by Harman Projects. Dark Matter (through Jan. 29) and Children of Divorce (Jan. 15), both organized by Thinkspace Projects, are exhibits that are based on childhood and the struggles of society. The final exhibit, by Phoenix father-and-son duo Such and Champ Styles, Like Father, Like Son (through Jan. 1), incorporates pop culture icons into their graphic lettering and motifs painted by this family graffiti team. “From these exhibitions, we hope guests will become reconnected with their inner child and be inspired to make a positive difference in their communities,” says Fairall.
Beard Papa’s is new to Gilbert’s SanTan Village, serving up daily baked custom cream puff s. The first step is to choose from a number of eclair flavors, then select a frosting flavor, and, finally, dig in. From the classic chocolate eclair with vanilla filling to a churro eclair with horchata cream, there’s no wrong choice. Truly, these cream puff s are world renowned: Their story began all the way in Japan. In 1999, Yuji Hirota opened a bakery in Osaka, quickly gaining a cult following. Repeat customers, all with a sweet tooth, came to know and love Hirota for his sugary desserts and fluffy white beard, earning him the nickname “Beard Papa.” So, Hirota ran with it. He was determined to “make a pastry as fluffy and lovable as the beard,” he says, and thus his delicious original cream puff legacy began. Beard Papa’s has since become a worldwide franchise in 15 countries and territories at over 400 storefronts. Now, Hirota invites the Gilbert community to take a sugar-induced trip to Osaka with him. 2196 E. Williams Field Road, #113, Gilbert, beardpapas.com
Photography by: Courtesy of Gila River Resorts & Casinos