In some ways, Bernie's Burger Bus still feels brand-new, its creative burgers as fresh and exciting as the day they debuted five years ago on Justin Turner's first food truck. In other ways, Bernie's feels like a Houston institution, that initial food truck now expanded into a fleet and a second bricks-and-mortar location in Katy opening on November 3.
The first permanent Bernie's location in Bellaire drew a fast crowd of regulars when it first opened 16 months ago. They came for Turner's inventive menu of burgers and shakes, each named for a different aspect of grammar school, as much as the giant yellow school bus wedged inside the restaurant, which serves as an extended kitchen for the hundreds of burgers Bernie's serves each day.
This new location in Katy at the LaCenterra Shopping Center won't have a bus of its very own, but it will feature a pond view from the patio (which seats 60) and a beautiful, black-and-white subway tile mural of Bernie himself—Turner's beloved grandfather and his restaurant's namesake. When it opens in November across from Trader Joe's, it will feature the same menu as the Bellaire location, including a line-up of local craft beers.
But this bus isn't stopping here; Turner has plans to open a third permanent location in the Heights in 2016, this one housing the original Bernie's Burger Bus itself. And as for that fleet of little yellow burger buses, they'll continue to crawl the city giving out Detentions (that's a double cheeseburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns, for the uninitiated)—all except for one.
Turner will be sending out a manned expedition to Austin, where one of his food trucks will be posting up at The Midway Food Park later this month. And if all goes well, expect that truck to lead to yet another Bernie's Burger Bus, this time in Austin. It's a more than even trade, considering Austin is finally giving Houston a Hopdoddy.