It takes a unique personality to open any business, especially a restaurant. To operate multiple concepts in different towns, is next-level crazy. Doing so with your husband or wife, is third-tier.
Over the last decade, Jim and Kelley Cabral have established themselves and their eateries as being known for their casual comfort food concepts and family friendly atmospheres.
“Jim knew he wanted to be a cook from the time he was three and baking cookies with his grandma,” Kelley said. “I on the other hand, took some persuading to enter the field along with Jim, who had already been operating Gabby’s Kitchen in Chino Valley. Even though I had plenty of hospitality experience having worked at many local restaurants growing up and over time.”
Gabby’s Kitchen continues to be a local favorite, offering quickly prepared breakfast and lunch dishes with friendly and efficient service mornings through 2 p.m. daily.
Kelley a lifelong Prescottonian and graduate of Bradshaw Mountain High School, and Jim, a PHS grad met while Kelley was on a date, with someone else at Jack in the Box. The two met and became lifelong friends.
Along with a plethora of dining establishments, the couple also share five children, who all participate in the restaurant operations in one manner or another.
Their latest acquisition is Gabby’s Rustic Eats on Highway 89 in Chino Valley. The couple recently completed a full remodel of the property, and is offering a wide selection of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and entrees with a Regional Ranch spin.
Barnyard Chicken Sandwich and Tri Tip Salads are offered along with a wide selection of steaks and hearty entrees.
“When I go out to eat, I’m looking for good solid dishes without all the frills so to speak, but have really good flavor, served in a clean and pleasant space at a fair price. And that’s what we strive to do at all of our places.” Kelley adds.
While Jim takes care of kitchen operations, Kelley, most recently the business manager for Sharlot Hall Museum, had to be persuaded a bit to enter the dining room, so to speak, and now runs the back-of-house operations for the family’s multiple properties.
“Jim is not happy unless, his “hair is on fire” and he is running full speed.”
But we thought we were starting new places when JB’s, now Prescott Junction, came available.” Kelley explains.
The longtime and well- known casual family style diner had been a fixture at the middle of East Sheldon and Gurley streets for as long Jim and Kelley could recall.
Nostalgia took over and Prescott Junction continues a tradition of quality casual dining along with an ample salad bar and homemade pies.
“One of the things I really love, is Italian Food.” Kelley enthuses. “There are so many great Italian restaurants in the area, and we wanted do something that encapsulated all regions when we opened Gabriella’s.”
Gabriella’s Ristorante at 8930 Valley St. in Prescott Valley, offers dinner service providing a wide selection of homemade pasta, meatballs, salads, and Italian entrees.
And yes, there is more.
For a period of time, Jim, a life-long chef with a love of all things food, worked for Morrison Foodservice at Yavapai College before venturing off on his own.
For the last 10 years, the couple has operated the foodservice at the Findley Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, providing nourishment for concertgoers, as well as sports teams from around the country.
Despite so many irons in the fire, including Gabby’s Grill in the Entertainment District of PV, Jim and Kelley run very lean operations.
“One of the results with 2020, was having to learn to do with less so to speak, when it comes to staff.” Kelley explains.
“Staffing is our most difficult and ongoing challenge when it comes to operations.” Kelley says.
“Food cost is the second-biggest challenge when trying to provide a consistent experience at a price point your guests have come to expect and enjoy. We’ve gotten through the worst as far as the lack of product, or product consistency since 2020, but it still plays a part when planning a menu. We, as everyone, have learned to adjust and make it work”
As to what’s next for the Gabby’s clan? “We’re done.” Kelley says. “At least for the time being until Jim gets bored.”
You can check out all the Cabral’s dining offerings on Facebook.
Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. He also has a radio show, the Prescott Palette, on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email: