Pronounce it any way you want — Bar-none, Barn-one, or even with an Italian accent, Bar-no-nay — the newest stop along the Fresh Foodie Trail in Phoenix’s East Valley is unlike anything you’re likely to find anywhere. Inside a converted 1950s-era Quonset hut, on what used to be the Johnston family farm in Gilbert, artisans demonstrate their craft, answer questions, and give visitors the opportunity to purchase their work.
But what really sets Barnone apart is its vendors. Instead of artists painting or sculptors working in clay, you’ll find an innovator designing custom kitchen equipment, a gunsmith crafting made-from-scratch firearms, and a brewer experimenting with new flavors. Here’s a look at six artisans to check out while you're there.
Before diving into the food industry, Joe Johnston -- the man who built Barnone and the surrounding Mayberry-esque agricultural community Agritopia -- was an engineer. Now, his machine company gives him an opportunity to return to his engineering roots by designing custom kitchen equipment for commercial applications. Large windows into his machine shop allow you to watch the process.
In the adjacent space, Joe’s brother, Steve, crafts custom firearms completely from scratch and adds performance-enhancing features, cleans, and repairs existing guns. Additionally, Johnston Arms will offer shooting instruction and guided hunting trips throughout the nation and abroad.
This woodcutting and engraving business has crafted everything from custom signs to cufflinks to ornaments engraved with the faces of celebrities. It’s even done brand engraving for the Phoenix Suns. Only a counter separates you from the action, making it easy to interact with owners Brandon and Katie Young and watch their works in progress.
Another Johnston family venture, this one headed by Joe’s son, James, Fire & Brimstone serves wood-fired pizzas and hearth-cooked dishes such as roast chicken with chimichurri, whole trout stuffed with lemon slices, and braised short ribs. The dishes feature ingredients from Agritopia’s neighborhood farm, as do those at The Uprooted Kitchen, the vegetarian restaurant at the other end of Barnone.
Want a beer to go with that pizza? Bring your food to the tables at neighboring 12 West Brewing Co. and order a cold one from the microbrewery’s rotating selection on tap. The Barnone location also serves as a tasting room for the Mesa brewery, which plans to open its own tasting room and restaurant soon. If you prefer wine to beer, head instead to the on-property Garage-East, an experimental winery and tasting room run by Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas Wine Works.
Joe’s nephew, Mark Johnston, and Mark’s fiancé, Lauren Elliot, put their graphic design backgrounds to good use at Prickly Pear Paper, where they create cards, stationery, flyers, and more using a vintage Kelsey King Jobber letterpress. (Several of Barnone’s tenants hired them to print their business cards and menus.) The letterpress is in the shop’s window so you can watch the duo at work.