Business

Why two Coast newcomers bought Bernie’s without ever having eaten there

Bernie’s in Biloxi has new owners, who plan to keep the same menu and neighborhood feel of the restaurant and bar.
Bernie’s in Biloxi has new owners, who plan to keep the same menu and neighborhood feel of the restaurant and bar. ttisbell@sunherald.com

The latest incarnation of Bernie’s restaurant north of Edgewater Mall brings new owners who want to give the restaurant and bar the neighborhood appeal of the pub featured on the “Cheers” television show.

“Hopefully we will open Wednesday,” said Jarl Andersen, who with his wife, Virginia Andersen, will run the establishment off Edgewater Drive, north of Edgewater Mall. They passed all the inspections and applied for the liquor license change and are just waiting for the last equipment to arrive so they can open.

The company name is Bernie’s Gastro Pub, but he said they will do business as Bernie’s. The place will be like the old “Cheers” bar, he said, and they don’t plan to make many changes to the menu or the place in the beginning.

“In the future we will try some specials,” he said.

He’s Norwegian. He worked in the cruise line industry and jokes that he has “35 years or experience being a bar patron.”

His wife, Virginia, is from Savannah, Georgia, he says with a laugh, and has been in the restaurant business for 30 years.

The were living in Miami and looked at buying a motel in Alabama. But he had a thing for Mississippi, he said, and they found Bernie’s for sale online — and bought it. The restaurant is just off Eisenhower Drive, north of the railroad tracks.

Former owner David Bull established Bernie’s in 1978, and reopened in 2007 after Hurricane Katrina. He’s returned to his job as an insurance adjustor.

The Andersens have moved to South Mississippi but didn’t have the chance to eat at the restaurant before buying it.

Bernie’s is known for its steak sandwiches, seafood, steaks, sandwiches and salads, along with its friendly staff and bar atmosphere. He said Bernie’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and will be closed Sunday.

The Andersens kept much of the staff and he said they will be hiring additional cooks and waitresses.

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