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Founders

Founders

Just a Couple of Hungry Guys with a Big Dream

Way back when, 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. We were 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.

Hear more about our journey in the videos below.

Co-Founder

Bruce Dean

Recognized for his relentless focus on operational management and business savvy, Dean is Black Bear Diner’s Chief Executive Officer. A restaurant industry veteran with 40+ years of experience, he oversees all facets of Black Bear Diner’s business, franchise and menu development, helping drive the brand’s strategic expansion and its promise to deliver “great food, great service and great atmosphere.”

Before helping establish Black Bear Diner as a power player in the family dining restaurant segment, Dean contributed to the brand’s early success by leveraging his early beginnings in the restaurant business. He created the recipes for some of the brand’s most popular and best-selling food items on the Black Bear Diner menu to date. He was also the visionary behind “bear-sized” portions, a brand commitment to deliver unrivaled comfort food value and portions to its guests. Dean remains passionately engaged in Black Bear Diner’s food operations and menu economics, ensuring that Black Bear Diner guests continue receiving the best value in the family-dining arena.

Dean earned a B.S. in business administration from the University of California, Davis and currently serves on the Board for the California Restaurant Association.

Co-Founder

Bob Manley

A visionary, dreamer, and storyteller, Bob Manley is co-founder of Black Bear Diner. He has been instrumental in the brand’s development of atmosphere and environment. Manley currently serves on the Board of Directors and continues to share his passion for the brand with everyone he comes in contact. His commitment to human kindness and his never-ending sense of humor have left their indelible mark on each Black Bear Diner you enter.

Prior to co-founding Black Bear Diner, Manley was the owner of the Black Bear Gallery, an educator, and wilderness guide. To this day, he wears a lucky bear claw around his neck.

Manley graduated from California State University, Chico with a degree in speech pathology.