Tuesday, February 18, 2020

[ON THE MOVE] The Imperial Fez to Relocate from Buckhead to the 'Burbs

Longtime south Buckhead Moroccan restaurant The Imperial Fez will soon pack their bags for a trip OTP.  After three decades on Peachtree Road, the popular Moroccan eatery will relocate about twenty miles north to Berkeley Lake in Gwinnett County.  Owners Chef Rafih Benjelloun and his wife Chef Rita made the announcement via their Facebook page where they thanked patrons for 30 years in Buckhead.

"We would like first to express our immense gratitude and sincere thanks for all of the support you have given us over the last 30 years and are excited to see everyone at our new location,"  said Chef Rita Benjelloun. 

Imperial Fez is known not only for their authentic Moroccan and middle eastern fare but also for their shows and belly dancing.  Additionally, in 2015 Food Network featured the restaurant in a segment called "Craziest Restaurants in America."   

The new location, an upper level, second generation restaurant space along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard at The Shops @ Berkeley Lake, will reportedly open March 1 according to the Facebook post announcing the move.  That said, ToNeTo Atlanta visited the space Monday night and the projected opening seems very optimistic given the current state of the space.  [The current Imperial Fez space is already marked as "vacant" and available for lease.]

Benjelloun, a native of Morocco who has been in the restaurant business basically his entire life, did not give a specific reason for the closure of the existing restaurant which he opened in 1991.  Undoubtedly, lower rent and more parking were among the factors that influenced the decision to relocate.  According to a leasing flyer for the Berkeley Lake shopping center, there are 179 surface spaces available, a ratio of 5.42/1,000 square feet. 

Real estate records indicate that the current Buckhead location is 3,189 square feet, whereas the new Berkeley Lake outpost will be 5,077 square feet, roughly a 59 percent increase.  The new location also provides the restaurant a large outdoor patio overlooking Peachtree Industrial.   

The current Imperial Fez is open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner only.  Coming soon signage for the new restaurant indicates it will be open for both lunch and dinner, but it does not explicitly confirm if it will be open seven days a week. 

Online research indicates the space that Imperial Fez has leased has been several restaurants in years past. Las Huertas Tequila & Tacos appears to have been the most recent, but the space has also previously been home to MacKenzie's Restaurant, G.A.B.B.A - Great American Burger Boutique & Ale, The Sushi Machine, Three Dollar Cafe and perhaps others as well.

Have you been to The Imperial Fez restaurant?  Are you a Berkeley Lake resident excited for the new option?  Do you think The Imperial Fez will find success OTP?

Please share your thoughts below.  


sugarfoot said...

That space is cursed. I think part of the reason is because it is upstairs. The MacKenzie's was the former Norcross Station, and the guy must have spent a fortune on the space. It was really nice. Too bad he got an attitude and forgot how to run a restaurant. I wish the new tenants the best of luck, because you simply cannot find the spot if you are not looking for it.

Georgia Water Tanks said...

I agree with Sugarfoot. A couple of nice restaurants have occupied that gigantic space, and haven't made it.

Georgia Peach said...

I hope there is an elevator to get to the location!

Anonymous said...

That stretch of road of road has never been much of night time dining and entertainment destination. With the many previous failures there I assume Imperial Fez is getting a good deal. Maybe a destination type restaurant there can be successful. Surprising to see this and I hope it works out.

Anonymous said...

There's a ton of neighborhood customers to choose from for a smart business owner (Peachtree Hills, Garden Hills) that could walk to this location without the need to park. Someone who can create a family-friendly space should do well (in other words, no more hookah lounges or halfhearted attempts at offering "fancy" dining to people who are driving in from 20-30 minutes away just to say they ate in Buckhead). Target the neighborhood you are in.

Anonymous said...

Hey Eli, FYI the Smoke + Duck Sauce has closed on Powers Ferry Rd. Website said they are going to change to Ramen restaurant.

Anonymous said...

2/19 12:12
Near the Imperial Fez location that lasted 30 years in that location. There is a Willy's across Peachtree, a Big Al's butter burgers just south down Peachtree, a little north up Peachtree there is a Zoe's, Jalisco's Mexican restaurant, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, Another Broken Egg Cafe and Whitehall Tavern which has a kids menu. Seems like there are a wide assortment of family friendly options in the area.

Anonymous said...

Have been to the Imperial Fez . A one of of a kind experience. Wonderful, unique, a place to take quests or out of towners. You must choose to sit on the floor for a better experience. I am 74, if I can do it you can. Stretch out on a pillow. Loved it.

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