The Imperial's New Pizza Heroes

Rebecca Varidel
16th Aug 2023


A local legend returns to its roots as The Pizza Bros, Joey Pepperoni and Marty McFly, take the helm of the Rooftop at The Imperial Erskineville. This marks a homecoming of sorts for the real-life brothers, who grew up in the same spirited neighbourhood as The Imperial. Now they're ready to ignite the rooftop with their heroic love for pizza and community.

The story of Joey and Marty is as rich and textured as their famous leopard crust pizzas. Fourteen years ago, Joey apprenticed with a traditional Italian master in Leichhardt, absorbing the essence of pizza craft. Both brothers have tossed their way into stardom, earning a cult following as head pizza makers at Sydney's most lauded establishments including Bella Brutta, Gigis, and The Dolphin Hotel.

But the call to be superheroes of pizza was too strong. In 2019, they founded Pizza Bros with the ambitious ethos of ridding the world of substandard pizza slices. Embodying their vision, they even legally changed their names to Joey Pepperoni and Marty McFly.

Their first adventure took them to South East Queensland, conquering festivals and events. Following a triumphant return to Sydney with a viral pop-up at Marrickville’s Grifter Brewing Co., the Brothers are gearing up to make the Rooftop at The Imperial their first permanent location.

At The Imperial, The Pizza Bros are set to unveil a tantalizing array, crafted with the utmost dedication and locally-sourced ingredients. The Margo Picasso will feature Fior Di Latte, Spotted Pomodoro Sugo, Confit Garlic and Basillico, while the Waterworld comes alive with House Made Fermented Chilli Sauce, Fior Di Latte, Faros Seafood Garlic Prawns, and Pancetta. Carnivore lovers will relish the Quality Beast with Pomodoro Sugo, Fior Di Latte, Red Onion, LP’s Salami Cotto, and Whole Beast Butchery Salsicce. Vegan options and weekly specials also promise to elevate the dining experience.

“The Pizza Bros are not just pizza makers; they're a cultural phenomenon," said Harris Kospetas, CEO of Universal Hotels, the new owners of The Imperial.

"Their passion, creativity, and connection to the community resonate with everything we stand for at The Imperial. This collaboration promises a culinary experience that's truly one of a kind.”

The Brothers' passion goes beyond just making pizza; it's about the history, the styles, the techniques, and the relentless pursuit to elevate and enhance the art of pizza making. From pre-fermentation to bulk fermenting of dough, Joey and Marty have a unique culinary philosophy that shines through in their masterful creations.

The move to a permanent location at The Imperial's rooftop is not just a big leap for the Bros; it's a seismic shift in the Sydney pizza scene. As the name on every foodie's lips and a viral sensation on TikTok, Joey and Marty are the city's superheroes, coming home to fight the battle against bland pizza. Now, with a permanent stronghold at The Imperial, they're here to dish up the revolution, slice by delicious slice.

This updated offering for The Imperial is just the first of a range of changes planned for the iconic venue under the direction of new owners, Universal Hotels Group (UHG). Rolling out over the coming weeks, patrons can look forward to an enhanced entertainment experience that stays true to the Imperial's legendary reputation, with reimagined entertainment, food, and beverage offerings that are tailored to meet the local community's expectations and desires.

"The acquisition of The Imperial Hotel resonates with Universal Hotels' strong connection to the LGBTQIA+ community," said Kospetas. "The group is committed to embracing the venue's incredible legacy and is thrilled to provide a refreshed and elevated experience for everyone who calls The Imperial their local."

"The Imperial Hotel has always been a place where innovation meets tradition, and we're excited to infuse fresh energy into this beloved space. We have some exciting changes in the works that will undoubtedly resonate with the community,” Kospetas added.

The Imperial Hotel's diverse culture and devotion to performance, dance, and music will continue to shine under the Universal Hotels Group. The community can trust that the spirit and beating heart of the venue will remain unchanged, but with offerings that will be even more accessible and tailored to local appetites.

Universal Hotels Group has demonstrated transformative successes with other iconic venues such as Universal, Newtown Hotel, The Oxford Hotel, and The Riley, always prioritising community involvement and input.

Community voices will play a pivotal role in shaping the next chapter for The Imperial with Universal Hotels working hand in hand with the locals to develop the next iteration of The Imperial, ensuring that it remains a space for the community that honours the local drag scene.

A bright future awaits The Imperial Hotel, stay tuned for more updates!