Plans to open a new California-style taco bar in the location of the now-closed Post Bar can move forward after Ferndale City Council approved a liquor license for the new establishment on Monday night.
The Woodward Imperial at 22828 Woodward Ave. is nearly finished inside and out, with extensive renovations including garage-style doors that will allow an indoor/outdoor feel in the warmer months and an open, minimalist, crisp wood look.
'We have a strong interest in Ferndale'
Jeff King, managing partner of Woodward Imperial, said the restaurant will be unlike anything else in the area and offer a unique dining experience. He said several cities were considered for the establishment but Ferndale was the top choice.
"We have a strong interest in Ferndale," he said. "This was our first choice ... We love the community, we love the surrounding communities."
King said he doesn't have an exact opening date yet but said it should be within the next few months.
Council unanimously approves license
Council unanimously approved the liquor license after holding a public hearing on the issue Monday.
Rifino Valentine, owner of Valentine Distilling and a Ferndale resident, spoke at the meeting in favor of the liquor license approval. He said he has seen the renovations and believes Woodward Imperial would "add character" to the downtown area.
"I think it's done really tastefully," he said. "I think it's going to be a real nice addition."
King said he appreciates the help he has received from city staff and neighbors.
"I'm very happy with the city. We've had nothing but help," he said. "Every one of my neighbors, they've been very patient with us. It's not easy being next to a construction site."
Mayor calls it 'impressive'
Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter said the owners have put a "great investment" into the property.
"The build out is very impressive," he said.
King clarified to council members that Woodward Imperial will be more food-oriented and "not a nightclub."
Chris Hughes, communications and marketing manager for the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, said the DDA is "thrilled" about the new business.
"Jeff King has done a remarkable job over there," she said. "We think they're going to be a really strong business for the neighborhood."
Featuring 'L.A. street-style tacos'
King said Woodward Imperial will feature "L.A. street-style tacos," which are open-faced soft tacos, including chicken, pork, steak and vegetarian options. There will be no hamburger, and no refried beans on the side, he said.
"We are not a Mexican restaurant," he said, adding that California-style taco bars are increasing in popularity in other areas. "I'm from California. This is something I grew up with."