Catching Up at Bernie’s

Even though Russ’s son David has worked at Bernie’s Pub for some time, we never got the chance to dine there until his daughter Julia flew into town. Due to a recent injury, she was unable to drive so the only opportunity to connect was picking her up at her mom’s in Glenside as we headed out for lunch. And serendipitously Bernie’s just happen to be nearby.

One is immediately struck by the cool, hip modern vibe from the straight-lined brick exterior with a spectacular outdoor patio, to the comfortable indoor dining room with an impressive 15-foot center fireplace wall and lots of large windows. Then you look up and hanging from the industrial ceiling are two immense light fixtures that really make a bold statement.

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Known for their daily homemade soups, we were anxious to hear what the soup d’jour was. Unfortunately, it was early afternoon and we were informed it wouldn’t be ready for a while. OK, Plan B. (In hindsight, if we had known we’d be staying there for 3 1/2 hours, we could have fit soup into the itinerary after all.)

Julia chose Salmon Vera Cruz, topped with olives, white wine, onions, tomatoes and cilantro and served with a side of roasted garlic mashed potatoes and string beans. With her comprised dominant hand, she figured it would be an easier task to eat the salmon dish than trying to manage a salad. Her verdict? Loved the salmon and the garlicky mashed, but commented that the greens beans, although cooked perfectly, were unseasoned and bland.

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Lynn had the Crispy Chicken Salad with crisp mixed greens, panko-crusted chicken breast strips, apples, grapes, candied walnuts and honey mustard dressing. It was incredibly tasty and the tiny red grapes and thinly sliced apple pieces added an additional sweet note, although not cloyingly so.

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Russ opted for the Umami Burger which came topped with mushrooms, provolone cheese, bacon, fried egg, roasted garlic aioli, lettuce and tomato—although Russ asked to have it minus the bun and egg. It was accompanied by a serving of house cut fries which Russ said were very good and crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside, often not the case with steak fries.

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All of their food is freshly prepared, and in addition to acclaimed menu items, Chef Raul does daily specials that complement their fine wines and extensive craft beer selections. But we stuck with water and iced tea since it was the early afternoon. When we come back for dinner, we’ll have to order from their pub.

Deciding to linger and chat, Russ and Julia both started eyeballing the dessert menu. In the end, Russ just got a bowl of Chocolate Ice Cream, BUT, he forgot to take into account the sensitivity of one tooth. The night prior, his temporary crown had somehow managed to come off, and being a weekend, he couldn’t get a dentist appointment until Monday. You can just imagine ice cream on a compromised tooth! Oy vay.

It took Julia a few moments to make a selection, but she finally zeroed in on the Toasted Pound Cake which was a house-made sour cream pound cake toasted and served with vanilla ice cream, salted caramel sauce and pralines. It was definitely picture-worthy and according to Julia, tasted as good as it looked.

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Who is Bernie? Bernice Kretschman, a.k.a “Bernie” is the owner’s grandmother. She was the mother of four boys, all of whom grew up and remained in and around the Glenside and Roslyn areas with their families. Her signature family event was Sunday Dinners. While many extended families get together on holidays or birthdays, she hosted Sunday Dinner every week for 35 years at her house on Fairhill Avenue in Glenside. Attendance was required.

Looking for our next foray to Bernie’s, this time for dinner…

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