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From a struggling 12-seat diner inherited from his father-in-law in 1927, Joe Gilbert built himself a Kansas City restaurant empire. But the Dean, as they call him, was more than a restaurateur. To the thousands who worked for him, he was a mentor. To our city's thriving restaurant community, he was a leader. To each and every regular, he was a friend. In a city full of culinary icons, he was a bona fide legend. And he showed all of us just what hospitality and fine dining meant.

 

"I THINK HE HAD 100,000
CLOSE FRIENDS."

 

 

All the way into his eighties, Mr. Joe this snappily-dressed silver fox kept growing his empire, reaching 48 restaurants. And even still, he never forgot a cook's name or neglected to tend to the tiniest details. At J.Gilbert's, it is this genuine care for people and legendary love of hospitality that inspires us today. And for all of that, we fondly refer to him as "The Dean."

 

 
MEET OUR CREW

manager

Managing Partner and Executive Chef

ERIK BLOMSTRANN

Erik got his start in the restaurant business at age 16. By the age of 20, he was a Line Cook at J. Gilbert’s for two years, further honing his skills before leaving for culinary school. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of American in October 2003, he worked for several restaurant groups as Sous Chef and eventually Executive Chef. In 2007, Erik returned to J. Gilbert’s as Executive Chef, where he has remained at the helm of the kitchen. When not in the kitchen, Erik enjoys spending time with his boxer Lola, hiking, cigars and fine food shared with friends and family.

General Manager

DAVID PERRI

David grew up in Connecticut, but it was in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he first caught the ‘restaurant bug’ while in college, working as a host at Legal Sea Foods. Within a year, he had worked at every front-of-house position at the restaurant and was soon brought on as Floor Manager at Boston’s Armani Café. In 2006, David became General Manager at NYC’s then-staple Roth’s Westside Steakhouse, where his passion for hospitality and top-notch food and service fused with the city’s music scene (featuring Roth’s late-night jazz sessions with live music from renowned jazz musicians every weekend). In 2016, David moved back to Connecticut to join the J. Gilbert’s team, where he is proud to continue the tradition in one of the state’s most beloved restaurants.

JOIN OUR FAMILY

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WORKING FOR JOE
Anywhere there are people who have made a career out of serving up great dining experiences, people know Mr. Joe. And whether they worked in his place when they were just getting started or shook hands at the weekly Rotary Club meeting after making it big, we can guarantee their memories are fond. Because more than the restaurant business, more than the food, more than the happy hours ‐ Joe just loved people. And people always returned the favor.
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