The third location of Bernie's Burger Bus opened on July 31 at 2200 Yale Street in the Heights, two days short of what would have been the real Bernie's—chef-owner Justin Turner's grandfather—99th birthday. It's not the only reminder of Bernie's 1918 birth in Turner's new restaurant. There's also the bus, the one that he used when he started his burger business as a food truck, which fortuitously carries the ID number 1918. Another bus in his previous fleet had Turner's birth year.
The new restaurant is a homecoming for Turner in many ways. He says that the Heights was essentially the center of the Bernie's universe in its early days "We were there every week for four years," he says of parking at Little Woodrow's.
So what's new? The Heights location is the first to boast a full bar. Turner engaged bartender Linda Salinas to create a bar program that includes cocktails including an ancho-chile-spiked take on the Manhattan, bacon Manhattan and Bloody Mary (called the School Nurse) made with pepper-infused vodka, homemade mix and a chile-lime rim. The Summer Shandy uses Eureka Heights Buckle Bunny cream ale with grapefruit soda. There are also frozen drinks , boozy milkshakes, eight beers on tap, and two wines on draught.
Other elements are novel to the brand but are now available at all locations, including breakfast, sliders and monthly Lobster Fridays. But with a menu that changes every time the available local produce does, Bernie's is bound to serve up new surprises soon.
Ed. note: Since our meal at Bernie’s Burger Bus, breakfast has been discontinued at all locations.