It’s at the edge of town, but enjoys being the center of attention.
Bergie’s Steakhouse will not be neglected anymore, says new owner Renee McAlonis. Just a few months ago, McAlonis purchased the business and locals are already beginning to take notice.
“We’re cleaning up, installing new lights, doing upgrades,” said McAlonis. “We’ve got an LED light around
the bar, new neon signs from distributors, we’re upgrading some of the kitchen stuff, and hoping to upgrade the patio furniture in time for summer.”
And the new owner’s efforts are already paying off. Bergie’s’ crowds are growing.
It’s a little unusual coming from the brand new owner of a restaurant/bar, but McAlonis would actually like to take Bergie’s back in time. And it’s all because of one lady.
“Everybody’s been saying, ‘It’s like when Donna had it,’ said McAlonis. “Everybody’s so happy with what we’re doing.”
Donna is a Bergie’s owner from the past – Donna Bergman, who sold the business a few years ago.
“She came in (to Bergie’s) the other day, and I almost had to bow down to her,” said McAlonis. “I want to take it back to where it was over five years ago, where it was standing room only.”
Bergie’s now has some social networking: a website, Twitter, Instagram, and McAlonis is getting the bar and restaurant noticed.
Renee McAlonis was an officer with the L.A. Police Department for almost 20 years. The large number of local residents in law enforcement is one reason she chose a Santa Clarita location.
“Santa Clarita has a huge cop community,” said McAlonis, who believes it adds to the safety features of the establishment. “We were looking at businesses, doing a lot of research for about three months. We went into a lot of locations in about a 30-mile radius.”
Then she took the plunge, acknowledging that buying a bar was definitely a new direction, career-wise.
“It was scary and I’ve learned a lot, but my dad’s given me a lot of advice,” she said. “He’s been out here a few times helping me out.”
McAlonis’ uncles all owned bars and her father owned a liquor store in Cleveland, Ohio. Also, they were HUGE Cleveland Indians fans. And because her family moved to the Los Angeles area in the early ‘80s, they are HUGE Dodgers fans.
Which is another big draw at Bergie’s.
“I think it’s important to show the Dodger games, and we’ve gotten a lot of new customers because we have
the Dodgers on,” said McAlonis. “I’m a Dodgers fanatic. We are probably one of only two or three (bars/restaurants) in the whole Santa Clarita Valley who has the Dodgers. We are pushing it hard.”
Bergie’s will be offering drink specials during Dodgers games, and the bar and restaurant may even serve “Dodger dogs.”
“From happy hour until night, you’re going to have Lakers, Dodgers, football, some kind of sports here,” said McAlonis.
Her biggest challenge, she said, is time management. Between meeting with vendors, customers, accepting deliveries, etc., the 16-hour days grow longer. Lucky for McAlonis, she’s lively and outgoing, which gives the business a friendly face and personality.
Her nine employees know that McAlonis is not an absentee business owner. She was pleased to see that previous workers stayed, though a new owner took over.
“They didn’t say, ‘peace out.’ You don’t want staff to jump ship when they know it’s selling,” McAlonis said. “They know we are completely vested in this. We will be here all the time, we will help you, we are here to support you.”
Saturday night Bergie’s sees some of its most loyal fans, because it is karaoke night in the bar. There is no dance floor, but on Tuesday nights, a live band plays blues music, Thursday nights there is classic rock. On Friday nights, Bergie’s has a DJ who typically plays for the crowd who is there.
The average customer, said McAlonis, is probably about 30 years old and older at the Bergie’s bar. Families come in for lunch and dinner and there are few kids, except on weekends.
Bergie’s’ new owner feels like it is headed in the right direction. “Now it’s almost like ‘Cheers’ – everybody knows your name. If somebody doesn’t show up for a week, I’m calling them, asking them, ‘Are you okay?’ When you see the same people every day, you get to know them. We cater to them. They’re like ‘Norm’ on ‘Cheers,’” said McAlonis. “Our regulars are completely local and completely loyal.”
Bergie’s Steakhouse is located at 16404 Delone Street in Canyon Country. Call (661) 251-3133 or visit [email protected]