Bern's Steakhouse, a must visit restaurant for locals and visitors alike, took home a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine List on May 2. For foodies, the James Beard Awards are like the Oscars and the Superbowl combined. This event seeks to identif the best restaurants and chefs from all across America. The awards celebrates the country's diverse culinary heritage and shines a light on the creative minds that add to the foodie canon with their innovative recipes, restaurant designs and drinks. No one in the Tampa Bay area had taken home a James Beard Award since 1992 — Bern's won for their wine program that year.
Bern's Steakhouse bested Seattle's Canlis, New Orleans' Commander's Palace, Charleston's FIG and Chicago's Sepia. What makes Bern's wine list award-worthy? Their famous wine cellar features 6,800 unique wine labels, 5,500 red wines, 1,000 white wines and more than 200 sparkling wines. The restaurant also features about 300 Madeiras, Ports and Sherries by the glass, as well as 200 table wines served by the glass with vintages to 1973.
Senior Sommelier Eric Renaud is a former F-16 fighter jet mechanic who developed an appreciation for wines during his travels in Europe with the military. Renaud began working at Bern's part time while stationed at MacDill Air Force Base. He began as a steward and by 1998 was promoted to Sommelier. Renaud has provided his wine expertise to the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, The Travel Channel, Food Network, the WSJ online, Wine Spectator and Food and Wine Magazine.
Tampa's food scene has experienced a massive surge over the last few years with local chefs providing curious residents with a bevy of genres and styles. It seems fitting that a restaurant that has kept our city on the culinary map for so many years receive this award in 2016. We recommend you get out an indulge in their expansive wine list soon.