By Eric Newman
With an open kitchen, funky wall decorations, a walk-up juice and tea bar and light casual music to accompany a meal, it is easy to see why Wildflower Bread Company has spread across Arizona, including Rivulon in Gilbert.
Wildflower marketing director Allison Georgoulis said adding a restaurant in Gilbert was an easy decision.
“Gilbert is an up-and-coming area because of the auto dealerships and all of the new residential areas that are being built up here,” said Georgoulis, whose company is based in Scottsdale.
“The Rivulon complex is going to have a hotel and there are corporate offices, so there was really a demand to have a breakfast, lunch and dinner place here, and we fill that.”
But Wildflower does more than that. Wildflower founder Louis J. Basile Jr. grew up in New Jersey and worked in his family’s restaurant business since he was five. Those experiences instilled in him the importance of family meals.
With families paying more attention to technology than each other, Basile hopes Wildflower can encourage folks to come together and strengthen interpersonal bonds – at least for an hour or two.
“We want people to be able to go out to eat and have that family experience of sharing a meal together, but not have it cost an arm and a leg,” he said. “That’s what Wildflower has always been about.”
Wildflower may have a relaxed atmosphere, but it serves bistro-quality food and drinks at reasonable prices.
Dishes like chorizo frittata with cheddar, potatoes, perfectly roasted red bell peppers, scallions, avocado, cilantro and salsa; an Alaskan salmon chopped salad; and a cavatappi homemade macaroni and cheese sprinkle the menu in Gilbert, along with local beer and wine options.
But if Wildflower hangs its hat anywhere, it is on its bread.
Bakers, or “breadheads” as Basile calls them, do not just nuke premade loaves. Rather, breadheads go through an extensive, six-week baking course, and the loaves are baked fresh each morning.
“All of our bread is baked here fresh in the restaurant, and the huge ovens are used to bake it,” Georgoulis said. “And then the bread that doesn’t sell that day is donated at the end of the night.”
With 15 locations, and even more in store, Basile said Wildflower has exceeded his expectations. His restaurant-loving parents, who have since passed away, would be pleased.
“I know they’d be incredibly proud of what we’ve created here, and I wish they could see this restaurant, because this is the coolest restaurant we’ve built yet,” he said.