Well, not quite ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’, but I couldn’t resist that title for a post, reminiscent of the movie ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ from 1989. Dos and I went to Tampa for the weekend, with the highlight being dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse.
I had been in Louisiana all week, and flew into Tampa late Friday night, where Dos met me at the airport at 10pm. The Grand Hyatt Tampa was right across the freeway from the airport, so we were there fairly quickly after I picked up my luggage. As he had already checked in, we were up to our room on the executive 12th floor really quick. Shortly later we went down to the lobby lounge for a nightcap, people watching as usual, and this night was no exception as there was a HUGE Indian wedding party staying at the hotel, and they were dressed quite nicely. They must have booked half the hotel from the numerous families we saw the next morning at breakfast, but they all were the ‘professional’ type; i.e. Doctors, Engineers, and other geniuses as we overheard the next day at breakfast; very well behaved children too. It was nice to see such a happy reunion for everyone – everyone was so glad to see each other and having fun.
On Saturday we drove over to Bern’s Steakhouse to view the new hotel across the street and browse thru their wine shop. As Bern’s has the largest cellar in the world, it figures they would have a wine shop as well. While the shop wasn’t huge like a mega liquor store, they had some great quality wines and also host small events; i.e. wine tastings, dinners etc at various times which would be fun to attend. We didn’t buy any wine, but I did get a Bern’s cap and the hardcover ‘coffee table’ book of the history of Bern’s filled with lots of photos and interesting stories about the family business.
We then walked thru the Epurican Hotel lobby, and a very nice lady at the desk area gave us a tour of the hotel. She took us all over the property, including the restaurant, bar area, outdoor pool, ballrooms etc – quite nice and definitely convenient to Bern’s for a future stay-cation.
When we got to Bern’s it was already quite crowded in the lobby, and packed in the bar, so we asked to be seated early which was a great idea, due to the nice table we got.
Bern’s Steakhouse is truly one of a kind as steakhouses go. While not fancy nor stuffy, it offers the best quality of steaks, wines, cordials, home grown vegetables etc, along with outstanding service. It’s the type of restaurant you really need to study the menu before going as there are so many choices, cuts of beef, sizes etc, and the wine list is akin to a phone book of listings. If you look at it from the outside, it appears to be just a plain old white no-frills building without windows. Just goes to show you can’t judge a restaurant from the building it is housed in. Indeed, when you walk inside it looks a bit like out of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyworld! The many different dining rooms are all uniquely furnished and different sizes, so the restaurant doesn’t feel as overwhelming or intimidating in size.
I’m attaching the gallery of photos we took at the end of the post (as well as on the main menu above), but the photos do not do justice to the quality of food, service, or ambiance of the multiple dining rooms, and after-dinner dessert room. Yes, Bern’s is the only restaurant I know of that has a separate FLOOR for after-dinner dining, i.e. dessert, coffees, fine ports etc, and is a must-do if you have dinner in Bern’s. Your dinner waiter asks you at the beginning of the meal if you would like to have dessert, and the reserve a ‘cask’ for you upstairs for later. You sit in your own wine ‘cask’ shaped private booth, which is so romantic and classy – and fun! After a fine dinner, you may take a complimentary tour of the galley where you see the busy staff at work, and really appreciate the care that goes into making your meal. The wine gallery tour was closed this evening, but we had taken that on our last visit and it’s amazing to see the huge (but only partial) cellar of fine wines – the rest are located in their adjacent warehouse.
After the galley tour we had another ‘meal’ of cheeses, dessert, port samplers, and after-dinner coffees. Complete with your choice of piped-in music in your private ‘cask’, the dessert was as outstanding (and fun!) as the meal downstairs.
We called our Town-Car driver as we were finishing up dessert, and were driven back to the Grand Hyatt -full, but not stuffed due to the very leisurely four hour dinner/dessert experience we had. Not for the person who is in a hurry to eat, Bern’s is more than a meal – it’s a true dining EXPERIENCE!
You can view our full Bern’s gallery here: