When Geoff and Valerie White leased the kitchen, restaurant, and bar at the Imperial River Company a year ago, they knew they wanted to honor the hard work that Rob and Suzie Miles invested before them while also putting their own mark on the endeavor, so they kept on many of the same staff and preserved the name but added a little bit of family – their daughters Kaylin and Madison both work with them – and their own blend of business and personal philosophy to create an inviting new space with the classic Lower Deschutes River hospitality. Now known as the Imperial Bar and Grill, it’s a place where “home town food and a fun-time feel” are available year-round.
When I sat down to visit with Geoff, Valerie, and Tami, the executive staff responsible for defining the vision at IB&G, it was clear they all understand that it is only through building people up and supporting community that everyone succeeds, and while a lot of folks in Maupin talk about the need for more family-wage jobs, this leadership team is making that a reality.
One of the important ways IB&G supports the local economy is by striving for farm-to-table eats whenever possible. All of their steaks, gourmet burgers, pork chops, and sausage are locally-raised, USDA Certified Organic. The beef is sourced from the family ranch, Circle V Maines, in Fox Valley, while the pork comes from Tygh Valley. Their aim is to not only employ strict quality standards in their food offerings but also to preserve a way of life and a sense of community through supporting sustainable local farming and ranching.
But their desire to deliver high quality doesn’t end there. The Whites’ philosophy is that “good, loyal, happy employees equal a good product.” To that end, they provide valuable year-round and seasonal employment for the area, with benefits packages to permanent, full-time employees – a business cost they see as a valuable investment in people and community. And their approach seems to be working, because every visit to the IB&G is met with loyal, dedicated staff who’ve succeeded in creating a warm, family-friendly atmosphere.
I’ve had many opportunities in the past year to sit and visit with Geoff and Valerie, in the newly-renovated bar, about everything from their knowledge of Maupin’s history (Valeria grew up in Maupin and has taken a ride or two down the Lower Deschutes as a river guide) to their vision for supporting Maupin’s future. Their dedication to giving back to the communities in which they live and work is genuine.
They’ve opened the IB&G conference room up for weekly spaghetti dinners to both the football and volleyball teams for team-building opportunities outside of school. They offer lunch-time specials for high school students and educator discounts. They welcome performers of all ages to their Tuesday open-mic nights, and along with the Imperial River Company, want to make sure everyone feels welcome to come down and enjoy the facilities – the sand volleyball courts and corn hole boards, the spacious lawn, and the riverside bench swings.
In addition, they sponsor many community events, including the upcoming Maupin Madness Poker Run that benefits military veterans. In short, they invest both time and money, because as Geoff says: “If you don’t give to the community, you can’t expect them to give to you.”
Among the unique offerings Geoff, Valerie, and Tami have brought in this year is the April 13th Whiskey Pairing Dinner with whiskey aficionado and writer, Hoke Harden. Check out their website: www.imperialeats.com, or find them on Facebook as Imperial Bar and Grill to get details on these and other culinary events. You can also grab their information at www.maupinoregon.com/directory.
As their official one-year anniversary approaches on May 5th, look for special celebration information, and mark your calendars to come down and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the crew at Imperial Bar and Grill.