Anna grew up in Ivybridge, very close to the Imperial so has very fond memories of the pub. A fantastic, hard-working couple named Phil and Ali ran the Imp for 11 years when Anna was a child. There were several families with children the same age as Anna & her sisters, including Phil & Ali’s. The children would run havoc in the large beer garden, the mums chatting away & the dads ensuring the quality of the beer was the usual high standard!
Fast forward several years…
Craig completed a cookery course in Ireland to then go onto a 6-month course at Ashburton Chefs Academy, confirming his love for cooking & for Devon.
The like-minded, free-spirited couple got on so well, Anna left dental nursing for a new challenge, which led to three years building themselves as a great team on the Isles of Scilly.
When they heard The Imperial was back up for grabs, it didn’t take them long to mull over & start their new adventure! After a week of hard work, giving the pub a facelift & designing their own menu, they opened their doors.
Both Craig & Anna are selfless people, they have helped others along their journey, and this generosity has come back to reward them as they have had a vast network of family & friends, helping them to get the pub open & continue to support them in many ways.
The Imperial was built in 1854 which makes it one of the oldest pubs in Ivybridge, although not settling with this name until the following century. Upon visiting the pub, from the outside, you are completely unaware of the space it has inside, not to mention the enormous beer garden hidden out the back. This pub boasts the biggest beer garden in Ivybridge which becomes packed in the summertime with a lively and friendly atmosphere. The spacious restaurant gives even more room next to the bar area.
After a blustery walk, stop by The Imperial as there is always a roaring fire to warm you up, thanks to Ivybridge Logs and A & P Wood Services. Take a seat on a nicely spaced table or the sofa adjacent to the fire to enjoy a hot brew or cared for beer and flavourful homemade food on a cold winter’s day. Full of character and charm, with Tudor beams overhead and old wall hangings, this pub makes you feel as if you have travelled back in time. Bringing that character back is a goal of Anna’s.
Reflecting the community of Ivybridge is another priority for Anna and Craig, which is why they were over the moon when Phil and Ali passed down to them an old painting of an Ivybridge character who often frequented the pub. Locals still remember him to this day and relish him when they see his portrait hung up in its original place.
Being sustainable and supporting local businesses is something that Anna and Craig are very passionate about. Their menu changes frequently which means they will be sourcing seasonal ingredients from local suppliers wherever possible. Having worked at Riverford Field Kitchen, Craig has been inspired to actively reduce plastic and general waste.
During our interview, Craig kindly offered to cook us some sweet chilli beef, BBQ chicken wings and falafels which you can order as part of their sharing platters. As we were digging into the mouth-watering food, Craig began to tell us about how everything is made from scratch by Craig himself, even down to the BBQ sauce. We were so shocked as, (and I’m not being biased), it was the best BBQ sauce I have ever tasted. The sweet chilli beef was so tender and cooked to perfection with a light chilli sauce, topped with sesame seeds. The falafels were packed full of flavour in every bite, presented on a bed of salad leaves with a homemade herb sauce.
Each dish was beautifully presented but didn’t feel too fancy or fussy, just rustic simplicity. They have designed this menu from scratch and in doing so, they have devised the perfect ever-changing menu designed for people who want great, hearty food, sourced locally, created by a chef who truly cares about what they present to the customers and at an affordable price. They have certainly persuaded us to come back for more delicious food!
Craig enjoys cooking a variety of foods, especially with his South African influence, which he will bring to the menu along with plant-based meals, packed full of flavour & goodness, & fresh fish dishes adapted from their time on Bryher.
Looking to the future, they want to offer great local guest ales with the Cask Marque on the door and a great friendly ambience. They want to become more involved in the community by doing what they can to help promote local businesses. They have even sourced hanging baskets from a local shop and paintings from a local artist for their decorations.
Anna and her fantastic front of house team ensure that a friendly welcome and a warm homely feel is what you will always receive when first walking into The Imperial. Consistently great customer service with great food, great beer and a sustainable outlook; we have every faith that they will add to the community of Ivybridge and push it onto even greater things.
Whether you just want a pint and to watch the world go by sat next to a roaring fire or if you are looking for a hearty Sunday roast with the family; The Imperial is here to tend to all of your needs.
t: 01752 651091 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
28 Western Road, Ivybridge, PL21 9AN