Back in 1966, Mr. Abdul Rahim Haji, armed with a strong background in the catering business, came to India from Malaysia. He opened the first Empire Restaurant in a small alley in Shivajinagar, Bangalore, which humbly served healthy & authentic recipes, alongside the newspaper and early morning banter. His eager customers just came by for a hot, steaming cuppa chai, or even ‘Haji’s Kappa and Mutton’ for breakfast! Here was a man with not only a passion for food but also a keen business sense.
No dreamer is ever too small, no dream ever too big. Empire has come a long way. There are older restaurants and places with cooler backstories maybe, but for nearly 50 plus years, everyone in Bangalore and beyond, young and old, is familiar with ‘Empire Restaurant’.
The early days were tougher times, but Mr.Abdul Haq single-handedly made the ‘Empire’ possible. Abdul Rahim’s younger son Abdul Azeez joined his brother Abdul Haq and together they ran the business with grit and fervor. Exotic food like brain fry and kebabs were served, and also affordable ghee rice and Kerala Parotta. They consistently built rapport, making each interaction with customers unique; such was their passion, a sure winner all the way!
When the building, which housed the restaurant, had to be demolished for renovation, it is said that Abdul Haq with the help of his brothers, managed the demolition even as they ran the business from one section of the shop.
From a small, obscure cafeteria, Empire has grown to the latest lush Highway Restaurant en-route Bangalore-Mysore. The Empire journey that began in 1966, with one person and the F&B business he built, is as legendary as the exotic and affordable food that’s served to date.