The rumors that Bernie's Burger Bus would open a third restaurant are true. On Thursday, Bernie's chef/owner Justin Turner announced on Instagram that he has officially signed a lease for a space at 2200 Yale that will open in the summer of 2016.
The future Bernie's is only about two-and-a-half miles from the Little Woodrow's location on White Oak where Turner's food truck did significant business. When real estate developer Dan Braun approached Turner about this property, the chef says he knew he'd found a match.
"It was inevitable. We put a lot of our time and effort into that area as a food truck," Turner tells CultureMap. "We were looking for that kind of space originally; we just hadn’t found anything that caught our eye. Bellaire was something we couldn’t pass up for the ability to use it as a commissary as well."
Located in the heart of The Heights, the Yale property had been home to Alabama Furniture. The two existing buildings will be torn down, and a new one will be built. A site plan for the building shows one additional restaurant space.
Meanwhile, work continues on Bernie's second location in Katy's La Centerra development. If all goes according to plan, it should open soon.
"If you use the football analogy, we’re on the five yard line about to punch it in. We are weeks away from opening," Turner says.
While Turner has neighborhoods in mind for additional locations, he says he wants six months to assess the second location on his commissary kitchen before deciding when and how to expand in Houston. He also has his eyes on Austin and will begin sending a bus there later this month to build a following. If the city proves receptive, a Bernie's in Austin would give Turner the added benefit of having a business in the same city where his son Cooper lives.
"If I could anchor a Bernie’s in Austin to be closer to Cooper, I would be a big winner," Turner says. "I will be trying a little harder to be successful in Austin that’s for sure."
If the number of Houstonians who love principal burgers, tipsy onions and lobster roll Fridays is any indication of Turner's prospects for success, Cooper can count on seeing his dad a little more often.