GRANITE CITY — Four years ago, Tony Aiello opened a pizza place called Aiello’s Pizzeria at 1318 Niedringhaus Ave.
Later this month, the owner will open another business in downtown Granite City called the Imperial Pub and Club, a tavern-restaurant where food will be served daily and live entertainment will be performed on weekends.
The Imperial Pub and Club will replace the old Mingo’s Bar and Grill at 1413 20th St.
“It’s a lot to take on,” Aiello said. “I’m an entrepreneur; that’s what I do. For me to take this on is another challenge for me. The more pressure I put on myself, the better I am. I always try to keep myself under pressure; that’s the way I work.”
The Imperial Pub and Club will be open 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon until midnight Sundays. Aiello said the Imperial Pub and Club will have a restaurant atmosphere to attract families.
“We’re changing it all inside,” he said. “We’re going to have a nice stage for DJs and bands. We’re going to try to get involved in some stand-up comedy because we’re going to have a stage built in there.
“We’re going to have a full menu. During the week, there will be a restaurant-type atmosphere. It’s going to be a step up, something a little nicer than it ever has been.”
Aiello said the restaurant’s goal is to have specials on certain days of the month such as steak night, at which patrons will get a steak, potato and salad and enjoy live entertainment.
“We’re going to try to incorporate a steak (and comedy) night,” he said. “You’ll be able to come in and buy tickets in advance. We’ll only have so many tickets available, so if there are 75 tickets, that’s it. I want everybody to (have good seating near) the main stage.”
Aiello said he started working on the new place over the summer.
“The city is doing a revitalization of the downtown area down here, so it is standing behind me,” he said. “I’ve been here at the pizzeria for more than four years. I was down here by myself to start with, and it has been a success. (The city is) really standing behind me for the new Imperial to be a success, also.”
With the location just blocks from the steel mill, Aiello said he hopes the new place will attract plenty of steelworkers.
“We’re a steel town,” he said. “We have about 2,000 employees at U.S. Steel, most of them living around this area. We want to try to incorporate them into this and make a nice place for these people in Granite City to go.”
Aiello said his fiancée, Chonda DeBoise, was helpful in proposing the new endeavor to city officials.
“She’s great on the computers; she’s very intelligent and she’s been working for Justine Peterson, a company they have here in Granite and now in St. Louis,” he said. “They do financial counseling and all kinds of stuff, and she’s been there 17 years. She does all of the paperwork for me and is a great help. She’s my partner, and she’s a good one.”
Aiello said the new place will be open by mid-September. Keep checking AdVantage News for updates on the area’s newest business.