Bernhard Mairinger's Austrian restaurant BierBeisl has been chugging along nicely since opening in February 2012. The small room is usually full, and the restaurant is blessed with a steady stream of regulars. So the announcement earlier this week that BierBeisl will be closing its Beverly Hills location permanently and reopening on the Westside came as a surprise.
"It's really because of the high demand for tables, as well as catering and private events," Mairinger says. "We don't have the space here, or the storage. We are very lucky to have popularity, and people interested in investing. I have so much more I want to bring to L.A., and a bigger space will allow me to bring it to a better level."
Mairinger is still negotiating on the space he has in mind, and so isn't saying yet where the new BierBeisl will be located. But he says he's looking to broaden his customer base. "As perfect and supportive as Beverly Hills has been, I definitely think there is a certain client who just does not go to Beverly Hills. It has a reputation for being a certain way, and it is pricier. My goal was to find a space close enough to Beverly Hills so we are still in reach for our regulars, but also open it up to people who might not go there."
Mairinger says that the restaurant's feel and concept won't change. "It will be a homey, cozy atmosphere, a lot of wood and stone and ceramic. There will be a bigger bar, so we'll have more opportunity to do exclusive beers. The menu will be bigger, and there will be a separate bakery and pastry area so we can make our own bread." He says as far as the menu goes, he may cut down on portion sizes and price to facilitate sharing, although "if you order a schnitzel you're still going to get a proper schnitzel."
One of the things fans of BierBeisl have always loved is how personal it feels -- the small room, with Mairinger's towering presence watching over everything at all times. I asked him if he thought a bigger operation would change that intimate feel. "That won't change," he said. "One of the main reasons I'm so involved in getting it built from scratch is that I don't want to take a chance that we'll lose that feeling we've created."
"It's a fast change, and it feels radical," Mairinger says, "but in the long run, the outcome will be so much better."
BierBeisl's Beverly Hills location will close after dinner service on Nov. 9, after which it will host a series of pop-up dinners with teen chef phenom Flynn McGarry on Nov. 14, 15 and 16. The new Westside location will open some time next year.
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