In with The Imperial

Friday, December 13th marked the grand opening of one of Decatur’s newest restaurant-bar combos: The Imperial.

Located on 726 West College Avenue, The Imperial is owned by Robert Holland and Matt Hanes, both of whom have been working in the restaurant industry for years and have children at Decatur.

Prior to its official opening last week, the restaurant held small opening parties and “practice nights” where the staff invited their friends and family to come eat at the restaurant. They were able to practice for real business days, and receive a critique on the service based on those nights.

At that time, however, they had no business license, which prohibited them from accepting payment from the experimental customers. After the delay caused by the license, the staff was ready to open the restaurant as soon as possible.

Holland, a former owner of the Universal Joint in Oakhurst, wished for The Imperial to be another open, neighborly place.

“That’s what I know how to do. Nothing high concept or trendy, just people gathering and meeting their neighbors, having conversations, having a good time,” he said.

Junior Jenna Hanes, Matt Hanes’s daughter, is enthusiastic about the restaurant and its development.

“It’s kind of going to be our family’s place,” she said. “It’s cool to have that place [where] we actually have a real connection.”

To coincide with that local style, The Imperial also strives to use fresh ingredients in all their food, buying mainly from local producers.

“The refrigerator is packed to the gills because we do everything fresh.” Holland said.

The current menu includes an assortment of customized burgers, salads, and sandwiches among many other plates. The location’s bar is also suited to serve a variety of beverages – customers are invited by Holland himself to come in and watch a game or sit on the patio to enjoy all The imperial has to offer.