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California-based restaurant chain Black Bear Diner is expanding its one-of-a-kind, bear-themed dining concept and classic, home-style comfort food within the Lone Star State.
The brand recently finalized an agreement to convert the shuttered Zio’s Italian Kitchen at 2707 Southeast Military Dr, San Antonio, into a Black Bear Diner. And at least six more company-owned diners are being planned to open throughout the state in 2022. Two of those six will come to Mesquite and Fort Worth, respectively.
The Mesquite diner will open in mid-2022 at 3730 Towne Crossing Blvd. The Fort Worth diner will open at 9501 N Fwy.
The other diners will open in:
- Pasadena, 3497 East Sam Houston Pkwy South – currently under construction and expected to open in early April
- Harker Heights, 401 W Central Texas Expy – expected to open by the end of October
- McAllen, 602 W Expy 83
Black Bear Diner currently has nine operating locations in Texas, with the majority of them being in the suburbs of Houston. The most recent Black Bear Diner opened in October 2021 in Brownsville, Texas. That location features shaded outdoor dining and a separate cooking line and pickup window for third-party orders.
The forthcoming diners are a combination of conversions and ground ups and will incorporate recent design changes to better accommodate off-premise dining. Once all six locations are up and running, Texas will have the most Black Bear Diner locations outside of the brand’s home state of California.
“We are pleased to introduce Black Bear Diner to new communities this year, and we look forward to serving up our delicious food and family-style dining experience to more guests,” Anita Adams, CEO of Black Bear Diner, said in a statement. “Strategically expanding our footprint in the Lone Star State is a key part of our long-term plan to continue to push eastward.”
Founded in 1995 by Bruce Dean and Bob Manley, Black Bear Diner serves breakfast all day, lunch that’s quick and satisfying, and dinner with comfort food classics.
The expansive menu includes sweet cream pancakes and waffles, French toast (cinnamon roll and stuffed blackberry are options), omelettes and scrambles, burritos and sliders. Specialty breakfast plates include “The GRIZZ!” which comes with pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage links and a smoked ham steak, as well as “BIGFOOT” – a 10 oz. of breaded and fried tender beef that’s smothered in country gravy and served with eggs and housemade biscuits.
Lunch includes housemade chili, super salads, chicken strips, and a variety of specialty sandwiches such as the Tri-Tip Dip and Chicken Avocado Club. Burgers are made with 6 oz. all-beef patties on a golden brioche bun, but can be lettuce wrapped or even substituted for a Dr. Praeger’s veggie patty. The biggest burger on the menu is “Bob’s Big Bear Burger” – a 10 oz. all-beef patty that’s served with grilled onions, tomato, dill pickle chips, lettuce, mayonnaise and housemade Thousand Island dressing.
For dinner, guests can get a breakfast plate of chicken and waffle and eggs or chicken fried steak benedict. If you prefer more traditional options, there’s full-course dinners of meatloaf, roasted turkey, pot roast and more that are served with cornbread muffins, soup or salad, seasonal vegetables or Italian green beans, and a choice of potato.
But don’t get full off the main meal. With floats, brownie sundaes, dreamy cream pies, cobblers and a 5-layer chocolate cake on the menu, you’ll definitely want to save room for dessert.
Drinks include lemonades, juices, hot and cold brew coffees, teas, shakes and malts, and beer and wine at select locations.
Black Bear Diner has locations throughout Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington State. Additionally, the brand has signed several development deals with longtime franchise partners to identify and construct a number of new franchise locations in California, Washington, Texas and Arizona. By the end of 2024, the brand expects to open approximately 29 new franchise locations.