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About Black Bear Diner

Black Bear Diner has quickly become one of the top performing “anti-chains” nationwide. Read more about our history, proud accomplishments and recent growth below.

Black Bear Diner, founded in 1995, is a fast-growing, community-oriented, family dining concept that offers a one-of-a-kind experience in a fun, bear-themed atmosphere. Black Bear Diner was born from a desire to bring home-style comfort food classics and personal service back to the dining experience. The brand is strategically growing its national footprint, with a goal of 100 locations by 2018.

Recognized as a Top 10 Franchise Value by Full Service Restaurant Magazine and ranked 275th in Franchise Times’ Next 300 Franchises to Watch in 2013, Black Bear Diner is actively seeking experienced franchise operators whose passion, energy, and entrepreneurial spirit reflect that of the founders, and share a relentless commitment to serving their guests and communities.

Our Bear Sculptures

If you’ve ever stopped by a Black Bear Diner, you’ve probably seen our signature sculptures.From skiing bears to grape-stomping bears, each carved critter is a reflection of its unique location. And, chances are, you won’t be able to resist a photo op. So who’s the chainsaw-wielding mastermind behind it all? That would be Ray Schulz.
Since 1999, Ray has carved over 200 of these beloved bears. If you ask nicely, he may even make you one to take home! Just give him a ring at (509) 276-9504. (He makes other animals, too, if you’d prefer — but we know you, you’re a bear lover at heart.)

Our Murals

Sweeping, colorful, bear-mottled murals give our diners a little more magic. We’re proud to say that each restaurant features custom artwork from the inside out. The tradition began when co-founder Bob Manley, a sculptor and art enthusiast, wanted a way to show off the sweeping Mt. Shasta landscapes we call home — while making diners feel a little more at home, too. He commissioned the dynamic duo of Steve and Gary Fitzgerald to install one of their masterpieces on the outside of the Mt. Shasta location, and the rest is history. In addition to the Fitzgeralds’ art, we also currently feature mural artwork by Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, whose work often inspires a mix of awe and awwwww.


At Black Bear Diner, our philosophy is that you get out of the community only half of what you put into it — and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Giving to our local communities whilst supporting nationwide endeavors is extremely important to us. That’s why, in past years, we’ve aligned ourselves with fantastic organizations like The National Parks Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation, in addition to celebrating local charities. We even give you the chance to assist us with donations through our Bear Dine and Donate program.

The Black Bear Diner Mission

Our Mission

As we continue to grow, our mission has remained unchanged: be the best diner we can possibly be, and create a place where joy, belonging, and love are key ingredients at every meal — where employees are treated like family, and customers are welcomed with open arms. And while we’re serious about making high-quality, soul-satisfying food, we always do it with a smile.

But above all else, we never, ever skip dessert.


1995 in Mount Shasta, California

Total Locations

110 diners in 10 states

Nonprofit Partner

National Park Foundation

Best-Selling Menu Item

Chicken Fried Steak

Just a couple of hungry guys with a big dream.

It’s been that way since we started, at the foot of California’s majestic Mt. Shasta. Back then, we were just a couple of hungry guys with a big dream. We knew folks were looking for a restaurant rooted in something authentic… something real. And while there wasn’t much cash in our pockets, we had enough heart to cobble together our very first restaurant.
So, we set to preparing home-cooked meals that reflected our small-town roots. You see, we’re used to a different kind of diner. Where servers look you in the eye and smile when they take your order. Where the food tastes a lot like your grandma’s favorite recipes. And where you feel, every time you visit, like you’ve finally come home.
Nearly 20 years later, we’re still serving up the same genuine experience. Because at Black Bear Diner, we believe that timeless values like quality and personal service are still very much alive. So, stop on by and bring your appetite. We’ll set an extra plate.

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