By Kathy Kerby

Gilbert’s population has exploded since its early roots as the Hay Capital of the World, so it is refreshing when a touch of “old” Gilbert remains.

The Gilbert House is nestled in a 1928 Sears craftsman house in a lovely little farm village on Gilbert Road just south of Elliott Road. It has been owned and operated by Susan Wright and her family for the past 11 years.

Susan “prides herself in using the freshest of ingredients.” Her culinary expertise and high standards come from her mother and grandmother as she grew up on a South Dakota dairy farm. She loves cooking all the sweet buttery comfort foods of her youth but she now also strives to incorporate freshness and nutrition with organic, non-GMO foods. She uses all natural buffalo meat from her sister’s ranch in South Dakota because buffalo is low in fat, high in protein and increasingly popular with the paleo diet crowd.

My husband, Lou, and I sat in the former parlor of the antique house and noted that the bedrooms also had four to five small wooden tables with colorful tablecloths. Intimacy is built in since the walls are still standing and one can’t help but feel that this is the exact antithesis of most restaurants with one gigantic room and an industrial feel. Other guests were close enough that conversation between tables was inevitable and it definitely added to the overall “behind the times” feel.

Just reading the menu made our mouths water as each selection looked yummier than the last. The Banana Walnut Pancakes ($8.95) would have been my choice for breakfast, but since it was lunch time, we ordered three different sandwiches. The Buffalo Burger ($11.50) was our first taste of this flavorful, lean meat served on a nine-grain bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and a side of sweet potato fries. The Gilbert House BLT ($8.95) was a masterpiece of flavor with a generous stack of extra crispy bacon, crunchy lettuce and tomato and toasted multi-grain homemade bread. The fresh fruit side had beautiful watermelon, grapes, fresh pineapple, raspberries and strawberries and was the perfect accompaniment to the BLT.

One of the daily specials listed on a huge chalkboard was a deli sandwich, soup and salad ($9.95.) Our server, Kristine, recommended the chicken salad and it was some of the best I have ever tasted with huge chunks of tender chicken breast bathed in mayonnaise and topped with lettuce and tomato. The Gilbert House Side Salad was a healthy blend of lettuces, tomatoes, mushrooms, purple onion, and house-made croutons and tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. As if the sandwich and salad were not enough, the green chili stew was a hearty, spicy, beefy soup topped with crunchy corn chips, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

The desserts vary each day. The chocolate ganache brownie, massive cinnamon roll slathered with frosting and the pumpkin cake (with thick layers of cream cheese frosting) were all delicious and reasonably priced from $4 to $6.

The G House After Hours is the intriguing name of the catering business. Susan will customize the menu and cater special events ranging from meetings to birthday parties to rehearsal dinners and weddings. Affairs can be held inside the cute farmhouse or outside on the patio for casual elegance.

The Gilbert House not only has scrumptious food and outstanding service but it tugs on the heartstrings since it felt like my grandparents’ farmhouse in Snowflake, Arizona and if I closed my eyes, I could almost see my grandmother cooking in the kitchen.

The Gilbert House

The G House After Hours

397 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert.