The transformation and rebranding of the venerable Liberty Cafe has generated lots of buzz in Greater Cortlandia. Now called Bernal Star, with a menu focused on burgers, Cali-comfort food, and craft beer, your Bernalwood editor observed a thick crowd of curious neighbors waiting for tables outside Bernal Star last Friday evening.
But why the change? What’s up with Bernal Star? What’s the big idea?
In an email to Bernalwood, Vega Freeman-Brady, the proprietor of Bernal Star and Vega (across the street), shared her thoughts on these questions, along with her vision of what she wants the restaurant to become:
Dear Bernal Heights,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that the Liberty café closed its doors on Monday June 16th. As many of you may know, our restaurant was the proud brainchild of Cathie Guntli. She opened shop in 1994 to cook simple hearty food in a neighborhood that was a bit run down. It was bold and unpretentious. She served good food that was unabashedly American in a restaurant that felt like home. It helped put Bernal Heights on the map and changed our neighborhood forever. Cathie was good, kind and a delight of a human being.
We lost Cathie five years ago. It would be a crime to say that the restaurant was unaffected. The Liberty Café was her restaurant, her cuisine, her idea. The love and hard work that she put into it was appreciated by all. Her memory will always be cherished in Bernal Heights.
We are stepping away from Cathie’s restaurant and creating our own. We want to create a laid back, brunch, lunch, dinner restaurant – a place to hang out with family and friends. We will only serve grass-fed, humanely raised meats and organic dairy and produce.
Liberty was always in the center of the Bernal Heights community, so in keeping that line, we will be hosting local chefs once a month, on the last Thursday of the month in the back cottage for international dinners. The idea is to encourage local cooks/chefs to meet people in the neighborhood and highlight their talents.
Also, we will be serving 6 beers on tap and will ideally have more than one Bernal brew… Looking forward to seeing you/discussing involvement in the new restaurant – Bernal Star!
The Bernal Star (and Liberty) Staff & Management
*Movies on the heated patio (sundown)
*1/2 off all bottles of wine on Tuesdays
*Daily Beer and Burger Happy hour ($15 burger and a beer 4pm -6pm)
*Monthly international dinners w rotating guest chefs (let us know if you would like to be a guest chef!) in the Cottage
We have 6 local beers on tap, and would love to serve any bernal brews – if you have some, or know someone who does, please contact us!
Sunday/Monday 9am – 3pm
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturdays 9am – 10pm
PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics