Family Businesses Make the Ozarks Great

The Ozarks a place we know has history but you may not always realize it.   It was not long after we moved back to the area that we feel in love with the local Mexican Restaurant.  However, we visited numerous times before we heard their story.  So, we thought we would share it with you:

Mercedes was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and lived there until emigrating to the United States in 1965.  She came to the United States, the land of plenty, to try to succeed with the opportunities provided her.  Within ten years she was living in the Ozarks, and in 1975 she opened El Imperial.

“El Imperial” means majestic or outstanding.  When Mercedes created the menu, she guaranteed everything was “fit for a king” by making sure her menu items were homemade and prepared daily with only the finest ingredients.  Her staff ensures that your meal is a pleasure by being served hot and fresh with the best services available.

Mercedes raised three children, who all work or have worked in the restaurant.  Her oldest son, Carlos, proudly served as an Army Ranger in Operation Desert Storm and helped manage El Imperial for several years.

Dolores is Mercedes’ only daughter and middle child. Delores’ work at El Immperial started a growing love for the restaurant world that continues today.

Mercedes’ youngest son, Juan, has also been a fixture at El Imperial since his earliest days.  Juan’s photos can be seen on the wall behind the register.  These photos are a testimony of his exceptional athletic ability and strength, a strength he now brings to the world of hospitality.

Mercedes has six grandchildren: Christopher, Jacob, Levi, Quinton, Kailie, and Brodie.  Mercedes is proud of each of them, and they can all be seen from time to time working in El Imperial and continuing the proud family tradition Mercedes started many years ago.

Due to her confident initiative and hard work, Mercedes has been able to achieve her dream, a dream of a wonderful restaurant that people come to from far and near to enjoy the tradition of authentic Mexican food served with pride and passion.

Now after knowing their long standing history, every wonderful meal feels like participation in it.


We love family owned and operated businesses like this one and would love for you to share the stories of some of your favorites below!

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