When Rand Howell and Geoff McIntosh began their romance more than 44 years ago, their favorite bar was a hole-in-the-wall named Bernie’s in Pocatello, Idaho. Back then, the pair fancied one day owning their own elegant restaurant and christening it Bernie’s. It took them almost 40 years—and welcome detours into real estate and restaurant management—to turn that dream into reality, but in 2012, their very own Bernie’s Lounge and Supper Club opened in the space once held by Davey’s Hideaway on East Palm Canyon Drive in South Palm Springs. Alas, that eatery lasted but two years thanks to a holiday season fire that razed the building.
A little more than two years later, Bernie’s has literally risen from the ashes—but in Rancho Mirage on Highway 111. Palm Springs’ loss is our great gain.
Such a special place is Bernie’s that fellow blogger and friend Diana Dodge and I had to both go check it out. Dapper Rand was there, genially holding court, while chicly attired general manager Ellen Spencer floated from room to room making sure everything was just right. The place was filled with a smattering of habitués from Palm Springs plus a host of newly made regulars from Rancho Mirage and other desert cities.
Rand insisted that we start with the exquisite Charcuterie & Fromagerie plus the divine Blue Crab Dip. Wow! From there, we split a delicious Wedge before segueing to the Lamb with Pine Nut Mint Pesto, Herb Gnocchi, and Broccollini for Diana, and the Snake River Hanger Steak with Garlic Parmesan Frites, Shitake Bordelaise, and Sautéed Spinach for me. Both exquisite. Obviously, we sampled one another’s main course. We would have been fools to not.
The list of classic and craft cocktails—not to mention a generous selection of red, white, and bubbly wines by the glass—made it such that we could accompany each course with the perfect beverage.
Options abound at Bernie’s, with its bar, patio, and multiple dining rooms (each personally designed by Rand) and extensive menu of starters, soups, salads, and main meat or “Air & Sea” dishes.
While not for the faint-walleted, Bernie’s is no more costly than other high-end fine dining restaurants in the city. And despite its Palm Springs past, there’s something entirely new and fresh about the place. But then, isn’t everything more special when it’s in Rancho Mirage? While you should definitely take our word for it, please don’t! Go sample this latest epicurean palace for yourself. And if you see Rand or Ellen working their magic from table to table, tell him Potter and Diana sent you. Oh, and if you happen to call Rand “Bernie,” he won’t mind at all.