Behind the Line: Bernie's Burger Bus - Before the Bus
Don't you love when the service at a restaurant is just as great as the food they serve? That's totally how I felt when I was hosted by Bernie's Burger Bus in the Heights. This is the place you can tell the employees love being there. Everyone was having fun while they worked, with a dance here and there. Happy employees translates to happy customers. The place was filled with positive vibes as the dining room seated families, couples and friends. It all made sense why this place was poppin' when I sat down and ate dinner with Justin Turner, the chef and owner of Bernie's Burger Bus. Although having just opened the Heights location, his 3rd spot, Justin was so laid back and just plain cool. He was so down to earth, I didn't even know he was the owner until I asked, "So how long have you worked at Bernie's?" His reply? "Seven years now." It wasn't until a few minutes later did I connect the facts that we was THE owner...LOL!
During this dinner, I was able to chat with Justin on how he came from being the personal chef to ex-Rockets player Shane Battier to restaurateur of 3 locations. Back when Battier played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Justin was working at a Memphis restaurant. He was brought in to revamp the place. Battier noticed the changes and before you knew it, Justin was his personal chef and assistant. The two made their way to Houston after Battier was traded. Justin was in culinary heaven as he was given no budget to cook for his elite athlete client. He loved that he could just overnight fresh fish straight from Hawaii and have it ready for Battier's lunch that day. But what made Justin give up this awesome position? He put it quite perfectly when he said, "Just like women have internal clocks to have babies, I had an internal clock to open a restaurant." Seeing how popular food trucks had become in cities such as Austin, he took a leap of faith and started Bernie's Burger Bus. The "school" concept was all put together in one night. He also knew that he wanted to make everything as fresh as possible, even his own condiments. He hosted blind ketchup tastings for his friends to help him decide on the best ketchup recipe. That's dedication!
While talking to Justin, I had to practice my multi-tasking skills and listen while tasting all the awesome food he ordered for me. The menu has some great options. For those of you who can't decide on a burger, be sure to visit on Wednesdays when you can get a burger flight of different sliders. Choose from 4 options that are just $3 each. So what should you order? Check out what I loved below. In addition to these, be sure to try the Strawberry Lemonade and Teacher's Pet slider. The Teacher's Pet has seared pork belly with a chipotle BBQ sauce, pickles and red onions. The meat is so tender and is complemented well with the tanginess of the chipotle BBQ sauce.