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Bernie's Kitchen a vision for years

Comfort-food restaurant in Elizabeth is named for owner's late grandmother


Bernie's Kitchen in Elizabeth is family owned and operated. B.J. Hutchinson, co-owner of Bernie's Kitchen, usually greets all the customers, seats them, chats with them and often takes their orders while her husband, Jesse, is in the kitchen preparing the food.

“We have always dreamed of opening a restaurant in memory of my grandmother who passed away a few years ago and it finally happened in August,” Simla resident B.J. said. “The dream became a reality last winter when we found this location that fit our needs perfectly. We love it because the people are so warm and welcoming.”

Bernie's Kitchen, located at 724 E. Kiowa Ave., features Southern-style comfort food.

“The items on the menu are the same things we like to cook at home,” she said. “We pride ourselves that everything we serve is made from scratch just like we make it at home.”

When the Rowland family stopped by Bernie's for dinner in December, they said it is a good place to enjoy a meal.

“We used to come to the restaurant that was here before and we decided to try it when it became Bernie's Kitchen,” John Rowland said. “I really like it because it is a down-home country cafe with friendly service and good food.”

His son Noah said he gives the restaurant a thumbs-up.

“I liked the mac and cheese a lot,” he said. “Then we had the cobbler for dessert and it was really great.”

B.J. said, as far as possible, the restaurant gets its supplies from local sources. That is particularly true of the meat.

“We buy our meat from the Simla market because we know where the meat is locally produced and free of antibiotics,” she said. “We prepare all out meats here in the restaurant. We grind our hamburger, make our own patties and cut our own steaks.”

She said the recipes for the menu items originated with her grandmother, and then her husband, who does much of the cooking, added his own twists to them.

For example there is a Swiss mushroom burger on the menu. The twist is that the mushrooms are fried before going on the burger.

“Our most popular menu item is our chicken-fried steak,” B.J. said. “We cut the sirloin steaks and soak them in buttermilk before we bread them with pretzel crumbs.”

B.J. grew up in Limon and graduated from Limon High School. She, her husband and their three sons moved to Simla. She said it is a challenge to operate the restaurant and make sure there is time for family activities, which include supporting their sons who compete in football, wrestling and baseball at Simla High School.

“Finding time for everything is challenging because we spend so much time at the restaurant,” she said. “But the time we spend here rewarding, as it seems more people are hearing about us and stopping by to see us. However, family is first and we make sure we are there for our boys.”


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