Meet the Owners
Cameron Lockley, Managing Partner
Prior to Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar, Cameron got his start in the restaurant industry by forging somewhat of a unique path. After graduating from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in professional accounting, he first worked as a senior account in Deloitte and Touche’s Dallas office on the financial statement audits of, among companies in other business sectors, restaurant corporations. Cameron then moved to Houston where he honed his front-of-house skills working for his cousin Grant Cooper (Ibiza, Brasserie 19, Coppa, Punk’s) at the critically acclaimed Catalan Food & Wine Bar where Chris Shepard (Underbelly) headed the kitchen.
A self-proclaimed citizen of the world, Cameron traversed much of Europe as well as the great dining cities of the United States during his formative years. “My travels have shaped the way I view food, wine, and the overall dining experience” says Cameron. “At the end of the day, my goal is always to strike a balance between professionalism and the human touch that results in genuine hospitality.”
Now at Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar, Cameron strives to build upon the reputation of his business partner Eddie Bernal’s growing empire (34th Street Café, Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina, Blue Star Cafeteria). Whether it is gently encouraging guests to experience a new wine, planning the details for a celebratory happy hour, or answering the phone on a bustling evening in the restaurant, one can be assured to always find Cameron with a welcoming Texas-sized smile. Cameron is a graduate of the Leadership Austin Emerge & Essential programs and has served on the Leadership Council for the Austin Independent Business Alliance. He is an avid foodie and Austin enthusiast who spends what spare time he has at various farmer’s markets planning his next meal, laying out with friends at Barton Springs Pool, and hiking with his fun-loving puppy Rafa at Red Bud Isle when he’s not at Gusto.
Eddie Bernal, Owner
Over the course of his 34-year career, Eddie Bernal has followed the same guiding tenet as he navigates the ever-changing course of the hospitality business. “What I always hope is that customers connect with me, our managers and our staff,” said Bernal. As the founder and managing partner of The Whole Enchilada Restaurant Group, Bernal owns and operates five restaurants, with four different concepts. The flagship operation, 34th Street Café, is where he began his love affair with different restaurant concepts, including Gusto Italian Kitchen.
“I love the restaurant business. The thing that brings me real joy is seeing people around town and hearing which of my restaurants they frequent.” In addition to Gusto and 34th St Café & Catering, the other establishments include Santa Rita Cantina and Blue Star Cafeteria. Bernal began his career in the restaurant business at the age of 16 with a summer job at Red Lobster. In 1992, after moving from Houston, he worked his way into his first leadership role at Austin’s Granite Café, which he successfully marketed and managed before deciding to open 34th Street Café.
Before entering the restaurant business, Bernal considered becoming a dentist, but opted to study photography at UT Austin, then ultimately decided to attend business school. He jokingly attributes his interest in hospitality to the fact that his parents ran a restaurant for six months while his mother was pregnant with him. When he decided to open his own establishment 20 years ago, he knew that he could infuse his business knowledge with his knack for making people feel welcome by putting on his best face and recognizing what they do and don’t enjoy.
Supporting the community with his restaurants also means being an active fundraiser and donor for local charities. He credits his loyal customers with giving him the opportunity to give back and continue to be part of what makes Austin such a great place to live. His community involvement and role as a business leader afford him a view of Austin’s ever-changing landscape. He deeply values the relationships that he has built with the patrons of his restaurants and is eager to continue providing a very high level of service and reliability for all of them, current and future.