Best of Gilbert 2014 Bartender/Waiter/Waitress: Mike Bernard - East Valley Tribune: Home

Best of Gilbert 2014 Bartender/Waiter/Waitress: Mike Bernard

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Seventeen years ago, Mike Bernard started out as a bar back and bus boy in the restaurant business at the age of 15. Now he’s a night bartender and manager at Tailgaters Grill in Gilbert.

Tailgaters is a neighborhood sports bar, he says, heavily visited by regulars and “pretty much like Cheers.” Regulars are even given placards to denote their usual seats.

“(It’s) definitely a place where you can come hang out with some good people,” says Bernard.

Professional paintball is what made him stay with bartending initially, since a flexible barkeep’s schedule allowed Bernard to travel for games and tournaments. He eventually played in the National Professional Paintball League.

But family life is what he says keeps him tending bar. His wife works a nine-to-five, and working nights allows Bernard to be at home with their children during the day.

He also owns a small casino company and hosts charity poker and gold tournaments around the area, as well as a weekly poker league at the bar.

SECOND PLACE

Ashley Bulka at Prima Pizza

3611 E. Baseline Road

(480) 503-4444 or PrimaPizzaAZ.com

THIRD PLACE

Duke Wizner at Cantina Laredo

2150 E. Williams Field Road

(480) 782-6777 or CantinaLaredo.com

[More on next slide >>]

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