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Lack of employment cited for closure

A downtown Pontiac dining staple since 2005 has closed its doors with the property listed for sale.

Bernardi’s II, at the corner of Mill and Washington streets, has experienced a lack of employment. Owner Tony Bernardi feels his restaurant is not able to operate in Pontiac anymore since he is not comfortable putting his product out there amid the current situation.

“As of May of last year, we had some staff members quit and it was enough to where we couldn’t operate anymore so we had closed in hopes of hiring more people,” explained Bernardi. “As we did that, we opened up for carry-outs only.”

New employees were trained and Bernardi recalls a couple of times when they felt pretty good about the situation and even put dates on the calendar to reopen.

“We still had people not show up or not come in,” recalled Bernardi.

Bernardi’s II tried to do carry-outs a few different times all the way through this past December but a couple of other team members left, leaving the restaurant unable to operate.

“It never felt strong enough to where we could open the restaurant fully as busy as we were and put out the product and service everybody is expecting to get when they come to Bernardi’s.”

It takes the right people, according to Bernardi, to do what needs to be done – such as prep work all the way down to cooking the full menu. Not being able to be at the restaurant all the time was difficult for Bernardi as the family runs other restaurants in Toluca and Washington along with a catering service.

“Trying to operate this business with maybe some unreliable people created an uncomfortable business atmosphere for me to operate,” admits Bernardi.

Bernardi’s II opened in downtown Pontiac in the fall of 2005 at a location formerly occupied by Allan’s Pub and Grub. Bernardi considers the business aspect “fantastic and successful” ever since day one.

“The Livingston County and Pontiac area has been nothing but great for Bernardi’s and we truly appreciate everything” said Bernardi.

If you are still craving fried chicken, tortellini or steaks, you can visit Mona’s and Capponi’s restaurants both located in Toluca or Bernardi’s in Washington. The Toluca restaurants celebrated 90 years in business last year.

The Bernardi’s II building, contents and equipment are for sale although the actual business is not since it still operates in other towns. The restaurant is considered a real turn-key opportunity for an aspiring owner out there since everything is ready – from the tables, chairs, pots and pans right down to the silverware.

The commercial property is listed with Lyons-Sullivan Realty in Pontiac.

(The outside of Bernardi's II in downtown Pontiac is shown this week from Mill Street)


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