Sundaes and an Unfortunate "Cheesecake" Experience at Joe's Farm Grill

Categories: Dessert First

Chocolate Sundae.jpg
Photo by Dayvid LeMmon

Joe's Farm Grill is known for doing food right - so much so they've even been featured on the Food Network. And with a namesake like Joe Johnston (of BBQ and Liberty Market fame), locals expect it to be good, too. This place emphasizes their use of quality ingredients: organic vegetables that they grow on their farm, locally sourced beef, and made-from-scratch sauces. Joe's is one of the best places in town for a classic American meal of burgers, fries, pulled pork, and more.

But, are they worthy of being on our list of places to order dessert first?

Find out after the jump.

Not a chance. We'll just come right out and say it: the dessert at Joe's Farm Grill is generic, flavorless, and receives none of the TLC that the rest of their menu is lavished with. Luckily we were smart enough to order sandwiches and fried green beans while we were there, but their dessert was such a disappointment that it killed most of the joy that our delicious dinner brought to us.

These sundaes aren't bad...exactly...but they aren't good, either. Let's just say that they have a lot in common with Miss Dairy Queen. The Chocolate Sundae pictured here was advertised as having toasted nuts, but ours didn't have a single one. Joe's boasts that their chocolate sauce is made in-house, but any restaurant worth their salt (or sugar) really should. Maybe they do make their own chocolate sauce, but it didn't taste very different from the Hershey's variety.

Sure, Dairy Queen and Hershey's bring to mind fond memories of childhood, but as an adult, we now know that that's not what real grown-up desserts taste like.

Something called cheesecake.jpg
Photo by Dayvid LeMmon
The "made-from-scratch Cheesecake" at Joe's bears no resemblance to cake. It's actually a soft cheesecake filling, which should not be eaten on its own and should instead be part of an intricate dessert like Cheesecake Choco-Berries. At first it didn't seem like this cheesecake had any crust at all, but turns out there was a thin chocolate cookie crumb lining in the bottom of the plastic cup. This dessert was topped off with whipped cream and - the only thing that made it edible - fresh strawberry slices.

If you really need to satisfy a sweet tooth at Joe's Farm Grill, it looks like the Grilled Peanut Butter & Banana Split sandwich is the best bet. However, it's not listed on the dessert menu -- and it's served with french fries.

Although all of Joe's actual desserts, including chocolate coconut bars and berry sundaes, are priced at $3 to $4, spend your money on the savory food - that is, until they redo their dessert menu, which we strongly suggest. Some seasonal mini pies or decadent strawberry shortcake would do the trick. We'll be back when you can make that happen, Joe.

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Location Info



Joe's Farm Grill

3000 E. Ray Road, Gilbert, AZ

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
Joe Johnston
Joe Johnston

Dear Dominique and @ChowBella: We appreciate both your praise and criticism of our food. It is our desire to always be moving forward culinarily and giving excellent value to our guests. We do base our ice cream desserts on soft serve for a number of reasons, such as speed of service, but not to make it generic. The mix we use is very different from that of Dairy Queen, but ultimately it is in "taste of the beholder". There is never any excuse for us leaving off a stated ingredient and nuts are very important to the overall experience. We will take your comments to heart, as we do with those of all guests when considering menu changes and improvements. Enjoy your weekend! Best Regards, Joe Johnston, Partner, Joe's Farm Grill

Dominique Chatterjee
Dominique Chatterjee

Thanks for your quick and understanding response, Joe. I'm looking forward to visiting again soon.

try writing fortune cookies
try writing fortune cookies

  Another petty, petulant piece of food writing tripe brought to you by this sad stable of blah, blah, bloggers. So, worthy restaurants make their own chocolate sauce? Right, just like all good burger joints make their own ketchup. Someone should whip up a batch of hot fudge for your foot. Surely, you'll be sticking it in your mouth again sometime soon. 


if the vig can make their own chocolate sauce and caramel sauce, Joe's definitely can

Chris Cardinal
Chris Cardinal

Valid criticisms are what a reviewer does. I love Joe and adore all of his restaurants, and Joe knows it, but I think that this is a valid review and jumping down someone's throat whenever they offer feedback when they're paid to do so is petty and obnoxious to the rest of us.

Perhaps you could counter with your experience at Joe's? Describe your take on the desserts? Offer a legitimate counterpoint, instead of just whining that someone dissents with your worldview?But clearly, we're asking too much in the world of anonymous internet discourse.

braising saddles
braising saddles

  Here's the thing, Chris: Aside from having a palate for the prose, a credible restaurant writer utilizes comparison as a chief tool of his or her trade. They eat many of the same foodstuffs, preparations and orchestrations many times over, and base their assessments largely on how dishes stack up against the many other versions and examples of same they've sampled. That's how the real pros work.   Food bloggers can be a different story. When I read this blog, I immediately suspected the writer possessed precious little of that key, comparative credential. Researching her editorial background certainly confirmed those suspicions.   While that whole I-Eat-Therefore-I-Am theory of food criticism fits in the context of everyone's entitled to their own personal opinion, anyone provided a professional forum to make pronouncements on food industry vice and virtue better have cut their critical teeth on something more than the chow from the cafeteria at the college they just graduated from. Restaurateurs and industry pros who put their all into their work deserve better. If you found yourself on trial someday, Chris, would you be content to let some 24-year-old, never-been-in-court recent law school student make your closing arguments? By your reasoning, simply paying such a person to represent you would qualify them as a lawyer, and their subsequent opining on the merits of your case made valid by that same transaction.  Sorry, Chris. I'm not swallowing that baloney. And signing your real name doesn't make you a tower of integrity in the blogosphere. But witholding it does, I think, make you less a target to cyber-stalkers. Your decision.       

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