Born out of tragedy, business is booming at this local restaurant


For Jason Scanlon, barbecuing isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion.

The Columbia County resident has been obsessed with grilling and grilling for most of his life, but really started honing his craft around 2010, he said.

Scanlon runs Bernie’s Blue Line Barbecue in northern Columbia County in Niverville at 122 Lake Street.

“I immersed myself in barbecue culture and began to absorb all the knowledge I could by reading books, watching barbecue TV shows, eating at barbecue establishments and devoting all my free time to craft,” Scanlon said.

This passion eventually led to the birth of his restaurant and take-out business, Bernie’s Blue Line Barbecue. His motto: “Life is too short to eat a boring barbecue.

It’s the kind of cute, whimsical phrase you might see on a website banner and not think twice about it. Scanlon, however, knows how short life is.

In February 2017, her brother-in-law and Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Haverly was killed on the job when his patrol car hit a telephone pole on Route 23 in Ashland.

Haverly, who died at the scene, had just completed a 12-hour shift at the time, police said.

“His passing put things in perspective for me and made me realize that life is too short,” Scanlon said. “You have to chase your dreams and be happy every day.”

Haverly had always encouraged him to start a business selling his barbecue food, he said.

“Thus, Bernie’s Blue Line BBQ was born and pays homage to my grandfather, Bernard Benosky, and my brother-in-law, Kevin ‘Haas’ Haverly.”

The menu is adorned with classics found at any quality barbecue: pork ribs, chicken thighs, smoked brisket, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Customers can also choose from a number of savory entrees and sides, including blue cheese stuffed mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes, cornbread, macaroni and cheese potato salad.

And don’t think Scanlon forgot dessert. Customers can choose from a mouth-watering array that includes banana cream pudding, smoked bacon-wrapped Oreos, and chocolate chip cookies.

For those hosting larger events, like a wedding or graduation party, Bernie’s offers a complete pork roast, with locally sourced pork in Greene County that’s trimmed, injected, and covered in a friction before cooking for more than 15 hours.

“Once the trailer arrives on site and your guests see the finished product, your party will take it to the next level,” Scanlon said.

Reviews of Bernie’s Blue Line Grill have been overwhelmingly positive.

“Just had Bernie’s for the first time at an event yesterday and all I can say is WOW!!!” a reviewer wrote on Restaurantji. “The food was EXCEPTIONAL. I will definitely recommend this company every time I hear someone talking about needing a caterer!!!”

“He threw two parties for me this summer. He was fabulous, professional and kind!” another customer wrote. “The food was amazing!!! Highly recommend the stuffed mushrooms and wings!! Everything was perfect!! Can’t say enough good things and I’m hard to please! Five stars!”

Learn more on his website.

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