"It's definitely inside the building," owner Justin Turner tells CultureMap. "Now we're trying to figure out what to do," he adds with a laugh. Turner reports that when he visited the restaurant on Wednesday, the crew had begun to cut the floor out of the bus. Then they'll position it in the dining room and secure it in place.
The final construction tasks of finishing the store front, bar front and replacing the wall that was knocked down to make way for the bus will finish this week. Equipment arrives next week. The space already has data lines, its POS system and the lines for the Maine Root sodas installed.
"Things are going to move very fast. You're going to see a dramatic change," Turner says.
If things stay on course, Turner hopes to begin a very quiet soft opening around April 21 ahead of a grand opening May 1. He's hoping to book dinners at his chef's table, a large butcher block that will be set inside the kitchen, starting in June.
In addition to the permanent restaurant, Bernies will continue to operate three food trucks around the Houston area.
Diners are already anticipating the opportunity to see what Turner does when he's freed from having to serve dishes on a bun. "I already have a party booked for September. They want seven courses," he says.
In the meantime, Turner is testing recipes for the house-spun ice cream and new cocktail menu. "I've got a green Bloody Mary made with tomatillos and house-smoked vodka that might be our signature cocktail," he reports.
How will that pair with the new lamb patty Turner will also introduce at the new location? The proof will be in the eating.
Watch the videos of the bus's installation below: