Owner of Cult-Favorite Burger Chain Lands at Lake Houston — Updated

Justin Turner of Bernie's Burger Bus

Justin Turner, founder and owner of the recently closed Houston favorite, Bernie’s Burger Bus, rides again. Turner is now the Director of Culinary Hospitality for Gastropub Productions, a new restaurant group founded by real estate developer McCord.

For now, Turner and Gastropub Productions are tasked with opening restaurants and other hospitality concepts for McCord’s 4,200-acre,  mixed-use development Generation Park at Lake Houston. At this time, there are no specific details about the restaurants but, according to a company representative, three new eateries are planned for summer 2021.

In a recent update, McCord announced that current Generation Park restaurants Wholesome Kitchen and Wholesome Pies will be transitioning to new concepts managed and operated by Gastropub Productions. Added 11/25/2020, 10:42 a.m. 

Turner, who won an all-Houston episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2016, is enthusiastic about his new opportunity. In statement, he said, “McCord’s vision for the future of Generation Park is unlike anything Houston has seen… I’m excited to craft new and intriguing culinary experiences for the city of Houston to enjoy in our first new brick-and-mortar concept opening in Redemption Square [a development in Generation Park] next year.”

Rendering of McCord’s Generation Park near Lake Houston. Courtesy illustration.

The expanding Generation Park is already the home of TechnipFMC and Apache Industrial Services, as well as to branches of Lone Star College and San Jacinto College, retail shops and three restaurants. In addition, a Courtyard by Marriott is scheduled to open in spring 2021.

In a statement, Ryan McCord, president of the family-owned McCord said, “At McCord, we recognize the importance of creating an ecosystem that the community will enjoy for generations to come… Creating hospitality and restaurant concepts that have the flexibility to change as the restaurant industry does is key in making these concepts succeed for generations to come. We’re honored to have Justin’s expertise and creativity on our team and look forward to what he will bring to our community.”

The Honor Roll Fries at now-closed Bernie’s Burger Bus, topped with smoked brisket, cheese and BBQ sauce. Photo by Carlos Brandon.

Anyone who watched Turner, a Chicago native, transform hot Cheetos, parboiled rice, Honeycrisp apples and French butter into a “Chopped”-winning dessert, or has experienced one of his lush burgers or his Honor Roll Fries, smothered in smoked brisket and cheese, knows those skills and creativity first hand. With Turner’s experience running a Houston mini-chain, combined with his past fine-dining experience and a vast new canvas, Houston-area diners — especially those in northeast Houston — can expect to soon be enjoying more of that innovative fare.

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