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Behind The Apron: Andrea Baumgardner, BernBaum’s

We talked with some chefs from the area and let them give us a peek into a day in their lives. Here’s Andrea Baumgardner from BernBaum’s.

Andrea Baumgardner and the staff BernBaum's

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

When it comes to dining, we often glance at a menu, patiently wait with a growling stomach and then devour what is soon placed in front of us. However, many of us don’t quite understand all that goes on behind the scenes and how these delicious dishes get from point A to point Belly. We talked with a variety of chefs throughout the area and let them give us a peek into a day in their lives. Their culinary delights don’t just appear out of thin air and should not be treated as such. Join us in exploring what it really takes to be able to don a chef’s apron.

Andrea Baumgardner

BernBaum’s

115 Roberts St N, Fargo

About Bernbaum’s

Nestled into a mid-century modern antique shop is BernBaum’s, a Nordic-Jewish deli featuring bagels that even a New York native would call “to die for.”

Owned by husband and wife duo Brett Bernath and Andrea Baumgardner, they serve up small plates of bagels and schmear alongside a charming 1950’s-meets-East Side NYC atmosphere. While we spoke with Andrea about her experiences here, she made an emphasis on the fact that the operation is a team effort and would not be possible if it was just her doing it alone.

BernBaum's

BernBaum’s came to life two and a half years ago and has been serving up delicious dishes consistently ever since. When her son was school-age, Andrea didn’t want to have to be working nights, so she took a job outside of restaurants for about 2 years. However, with a background of about 20 years of experience here and there in the culinary industry, she found herself unable to stay away from the heat of the kitchen long.

With Brett being Jewish and Andrea being Scandinavian-German, they noticed that the Fargo area didn’t really have any restaurants that highlighted those backgrounds. With experience of doing bagels in her previous jobs, the idea for BernBaums came to life naturally. Brett was already running Mid-Mod Madhaus in a space with plenty of extra room, so they decided to launch to bagel empire there. Tucked away in the back is a kitchen that contains all the prep stations that allow for timely service up front. “We built the most minimal kitchen here to see if it worked and did,” said Andrea.

BernBaum's

On one of her favorite parts of the experience, Andrea said, “It’s the community of people who decide to eat here. Whether that’s regulars who become friends, or if someone just comes in once. I think it’s very gratifying to have those types of relationships with people and to be able to provide something in their life.” Even while speaking with her, Andrea was able to greet everyone who walked in the door by their name and with a warmness that felt like home.

While Andrea and Brett are the masterminds of BernBaum’s, they place a huge value on their whole team. “At this point in my life, the most important things to me are the fact that it’s a team sport. It’s very important to me who I work with and it’s very important to me to impart that it’s really not about me,” said Andrea.

BernBaum's

Besides Andrea, the team that makes this all happen consists of Paul Perez (chef), Amy Rice (front of house), Brett Bernath (owner) and Pat McCoy (kitchen).

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Alexandra Martin

Written by Alexandra Martin

Alexandra Martin is the editor of Fargo Monthly. She hails from Huntsville, Alabama, but graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with a degree in Fashion Communications. When she's not in the office, she is busy taking care of her small zoo of pets, cooking up vegetables, or listening to true-crime podcasts.

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