GILBERT — If you do a quick Google search about the town of Gilbert and trailfest, there is one location that keeps coming up and that is Wally’s Restaurant.
Wallys opened ten years ago and for the first day of Trailfest, trail riders did not even know it was open but the word spread and Saturday night, the place was packed.
“Riders came on that Saturday and now we get them all the time,” said owner Linda Mounts.
Trailfest has played a huge role in the finances of local business and Wally’s probably been effected the most.
“Alot of visitors come to town looking to eat at a place that feels like home. They want to go somewhere that isn’t a chain but instead somewhere where they can get real, good local food,” said Mounts. “But we also strive to make sure our locals are treated just as good as visitors.”
Wally’s has seen guests from Canada, Texas and even Australia walk through their doors looking for some grub.
“We make ribs on the smoke grill and everyone goes crazy over that,” said Mounts. “But Trailfest also means we have to order extra food and staff extra people because you never know what you are going to get that weekend.”
Wally’s is open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
“If you come in, we will stay open. I don’t like turning anyone away,” said Mounts. “I come in very early that week, around 3:00 a.m. just to prep and make sure everything is ready to be served at precisely 7:00 a.m.
Mounts says she hopes that guests will find good service and friendly faces when they sit down to order a meal.
“We will probably pick on you a little bit but we want you to feel like home,” said Mounts. “And just know that we don’t care how muddy you are of if you literally just came from the trail. You can park your ATV outside and walk right in. If you track mud in then that is just fine because that is what soap, water and a mop was meant for.”
Mounts worked in the restaurant business for fifteen years before deciding to open her own and it has been one of the longest lasting businesses in town in awhile.
“Other business will recommend us to people and that means so much,” said Mounts. “The economy is down right now because people are afraid to spend money. The decline in coal has really hurt our communities and business has definitely slowed because of it but we are still here and we are excited for Trailfest. Although I don’t get to participate in the events, I am here making sure that everyone has a place to eat and is treated like family.”
Madalin Sammons is a reporter for the Gilbert Times. Madalin can be reached at [email protected]