One of the most famous, and popular, aspects of Bern's Steak House is its dessert room. Here guests can enjoy a leisurely and intimate end to their dining experience choosing from nearly 50 dessert choices to more than 1,000 dessert wines and spirits.
The Harry Waugh Dessert Room was built as a tribute to Mr. Harry Waugh, an internationally known and respected wine connoisseur, director of Chateau Latour and good friend to Bern Laxer. Waugh's books and personal diaries on wine tasting are well known throughout the world.
While dining at Waugh's home in London, Laxer was introduced to the idea of building a separate dessert room in his restaurant. After dinner in the formal dining room, Waugh showed Laxer to the "drawing room," a separate room for coffee, brandy and dessert. It was here that Mr. Waugh posed the question that would forever change the dessert experience at Bern's Steak House.
"Why don't you create a place comparable to my drawing room where customers could adjourn after their formal meal. A place to relax, enjoy conversation and dessert?"
After returning from London, Bern Laxer announced his plan to build the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. Construction began in March of 1978 was completed and opened in 1985; its square footage larger than all seven of the main dining rooms combined.
The Harry Waugh Dessert Room is located on the second floor of Bern's Steak House. The Dessert Room is constructed of California redwood wine holding tanks that Laxer had purchased from California wineries, shipped to Tampa. Once in Tampa, his crew created the 48 individual enclosed booths that reside in the dessert room.
Each booth is equipped with a six channel stereo sound system, offering guests a wide range of musical styles including classical, jazz, progressive, contemporary, new age and live music supplied by Bern's pianist. The pianist is in a centrally located "lounge" near the maitre'd's desk. All a guest must do, is pick up the phone inside their booth to request a song.
Bern's house pastry team, 20 in all, creates each and every component of the desserts, ice creams and sorbets for Bern's Steak House. As with other ingredients at Bern's, only the very best chocolate, vanilla and fresh dairy ingredients are used to create Bern's signature desserts.
There are nearly 50 dessert choices on the menu including classics like Banana Cream Pie a heavenly, whipped pie with fresh bananas and Cheesecake Gert, named for Laxer's wife Gertrude, it features a hint of orange, a streusel crumb crust, fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce.
And without a doubt, one of the best desserts is Bern's Macadamia Nut Ice Cream. This secret recipe was developed by Bern Laxer. He tested and retested the formula hundreds of time before he was satisfied with the results - a sweet, creamy ice cream with buttered, roasted macadamia nuts blended in. It's perfect with our homemade Valrhona chocolate sauce.
In addition to its handmade desserts, the Harry Waugh Room features more than 1,000 after dinner drinks, cordials and dessert wines, available by the glass and the bottle. Depending on their taste, guests can choose from more than a dozen Sauternes, more than 200 scotches, ports from all over the globe and a selection of Madeira that is unrivaled.