Our Story: Restaurant Development & Operation
Success in the restaurant business requires vision, creativity, passion and experience. The partners of Eat Here Brands possess these qualities in abundance.
While there’s no easy formula for developing and operating a successful restaurant business, certain individuals have a knack for making the process look easy.
Bill Latham and Al Roberts are two such people. Both began their journeys in the restaurant business at the bottom, waiting tables then progressing through the stages of management training programs and, later, managing their first restaurants.
Latham’s focus on operations and Roberts’ interest in the culinary world brought the two men together in the early 1980s to revitalize a Jackson, Miss., restaurant called Sundancer. Under their direction, Sundancer grew from a popular to critically praised restaurant, and its reputation spread across the southeast region. After seven years of unmatched excellence, they sold the restaurant, and the two of them ventured out into the restaurant management landscape.
Since then, their story has included one success after another. Beginning with their vision of Amerigo, an American-Italian restaurant that they opened in Jackson in 1987, their vision to spread throughout the southeast. After that, the pair opened CHAR, a Chicago-style steakhouse that took Jackson by storm.
In 2006, Latham and Roberts sold Amerigo and CHAR to begin focusing on new ventures. Interim Restaurant in Memphis came first, followed by the launch of two new restaurants, Babalu, an exciting taco and tapas restaurant in the historic Fondren district of Jackson, and Table 100, a casual dining restaurant offering Euro-American bistro fare in Flowood, Miss.
In early 2012, Latham and Roberts formed a new restaurant holding company, Eat Here Brands. Under the new holding company, plans immediately got underway to expand Babalu into other markets.
In late 2013, Babalu Memphis opened in the former TGI Friday’s at Overton Square. A third location in Birmingham’s Lakeview District followed in 2014. The fourth Babalu opened in the renovated JC Penney building on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville, Tenn., in 2015. Babalu Charlotte opened in July of 2016 in historic Dilworth.
New locations in Chapel Hill, East Memphis, Atlanta and Lexington are planned to open in 2017.