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The Imperial


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Went to the new restaurant called The Imperial, located beside Barrymore's where the Pita Pit used to be. It's very good!

The decor is nice, everything is very comfortable, filled with old movie posters from when Barrymore's was the Imperial Theatre. There is a drop-down screen, suggesting that they're showing movies time to time, or they'll be doing this in the future. ? I dunno.

Just two people working last night, the server and the cook. Server dude was very nice and easy going, cook was very fast and good at what she does.

Menu was very interesting, 5 soups and a chili, 3 or 4 salads, 3 or 4 pizzas, 3 sandwiches, and 3 or 4 other dishes, plus specials every day. The soups all looked super good (I am a soup person).

There are just two beers on tap - Heritage Dark and Beau's Lug Tread. They serve pitchers for $18, taxes and tip included.

For the meal I had a trio of mushroom soup, it was good (not excellent like I make at home). Would have liked it more if it was a bit thicker, but it was one of the better mushroom soups I've had in restaurants. (Some of the other soups on the menu were Buttercoconut Squash, Brocoli with Balderson cheddar, and I'm now drawing a blank...).

For my main I had a fresh home-made burger topped with pickled onions and old Balderson cheddar on a fresh whole wheat bun with really tasty thick-cut fries. It was delicious, I haven't had a burger in a while and this one was super good. Not too big, not too small. Fries were really good. Others in my group had the Chicken Waldorf Salad and the Curried Chicken Lavash (a wrap). Both got really good reviews.

For dessert I had the English Toffee Cheesecake. It was light and fluffy and tasty.

Prices were excellent, except for the soup. Burger was $7.50, dessert was $4.50, but the soup was $5.50 - wtf. That's too much. But oh well. Soup + Burger + Dessert + Beer + Tax + Tip = approx $30. Service was fast and very friendly. Everyone was satisfied. (There was 1 cook and we were a table of 7 and we were all served in under 20 minutes).

Other friends went on the weekend and raved about the chili and the sour cream apple pie, if you want other recommendations.

I'll definitely be going back often.

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  • 2 months later...

Found an article about The Imperial from February 25 in The Citizen


It doesn't sound like the writer ate there though, as there's no real food review, just a summary of the menu and what's popular. Kinda strange.

Really good brunches on the weekends here.

Gastro Diner reflects its Imperial past

The diner, at 329 Bank St., shares the building that houses Barrymore’s Music Hall. The building opened in 1914 as the Imperial Theatre, first as a venue for vaudeville shows, then for movies. The last movie was shown there in 1955.

Imperial Gastro Diner was opened three months ago by chef William Hurman and Chris Edwards, who keeps the front section buzzing. The ambience is inspired by the 1950s, with framed prints of old movie posters, wainscotting on the walls and the room’s original tin on the ceiling.

“We chose this location for the high volume of traffic and people outside the door,†says Hurman.

The Imperial’s governing gastronomic principal is to offer only fresh, local, hand-made items on the menu, which changes often. A popular example is the Balderson Burger, a char-grilled burger topped with pickled onions, smoky red pepper aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and broiled Balderson cheddar.

A favourite menu item for vegans or vegetarians is the Black Jack veg lavash (paper-thin Armenian unleavened flatbread) — char-grilled mixed peppers and zucchini served with yams, Monterey Jack cheese and black bean hummus, all wrapped in the toasted lavash.

Hurman gained his experience at his once-popular restaurant La Soupière on Dalhousie Street, which specialized in soups. Unfortunately, it had to close after two years.

Hurman is looking forward to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, when he will offer heritage Imperial stout (Guinness) beef stew and lamb tourtières. He’s also back to making delicious soups, such as the champignon trio (three-mushroom soup) and unique wild Waldorf salad with wild rice, both featured here. Also on the menu are stone-baked, whole wheat, thin-crust pizzas. A popular dessert is the gingersnap toffee cheesecake.

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