Bern’s Steakhouse has once again found itself a nominee for one of the coveted Academy Awards of food. The coveted Tampa steak joint is a finalist for a James Beard award in the Outstanding Wine Program category.
It’s the only restaurant in the entire state to land on the list of finalists this year.
It should come as no surprise that Bern’s is being honored for its wine program. After all it has potentially the largest wine list in the country and a wine cellar tour is a must-do for any Bern’s first-timer.
One of the keys to Bern’s wine success is purchasing fine wine before it’s aged and storing it until it is.
Brooke Palmer, Bern’s public relations director, told the Tampa Bay Times that a wine team goes to a warehouse twice a week to pick out new wines. She called it the “Home Depot of wine.”
It’s not the first time Bern’s has had a taste of what it feels like to be included in the James Beard elite. It was a semi-finalist last year for Outstanding Restaurant.
Another Tampa restaurant, the Refinery, almost made the cut. Greg Baker was a semi-finalist for Best Chef: South.
Despite the encouraging placement in the finalist category, Bern’s is Florida’s only beacon this year. The Sunshine State didn’t receive any nominations in major categories like Outstanding Restaurant, Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Chef.
Bern’s faces two South Carolina Restaurants, one in San Francisco and another in Beverly Hills.
There is a slight, by-proxy nod to St. Pete. Locale Market owner Michael Mina nabbed an Outstanding Restaurateur nomination for his San Francisco-based Mina Group.