Review: Black Bear Diner

Posted in the Long Beach Forum


United States

#1 Sep 22, 2012
The Black Bear Diner recently opened on Willow Street in Signal Hill. You can't miss it, with its chainsaw sculptures of bears out in front. It is the first Southern California location for this chain, which began in Mt. Shasta.

It was a great experience for me, good ambiance, helpful staff, and great food.

I arrived on Saturday morning. It was already busy, but the big rush of families had not yet arrived. The hostess immediately seated me, and my server Fran arrived seconds later to introduce herself and bring me the menu and coffee.

The menu is huge, with a big selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it took me awhile to make my selection. I had tri-tip steak and scrambled eggs. My order was ready in minutes and Fran frequently passed by my booth to check on me and refill my coffee cup.

In an age where we're constantly hearing and reading about "the obesity crisis," the Black Bear cheerfully thumbs its nose. The portions are huge, and this is definitely not a low-calorie menu. You definitely shouldn't eat like this every day, but it is a fun occasional treat. I only ate half my breakfast, and took the rest home for another full meal. I see the menu also offers smaller portions for many selections, and that is what I'll order next time.

I was surprised at the large number of staff on hand (servers, busboys, cooks, hostesses, managers). I'm not complaining because of the super-fast service I received, but I suppose over time the management will determine what is most efficient in terms of staffing.

If I was absolutely forced to complain about something, I suppose it would be the loud "oldies" music from the jukebox in the front lobby. There was enough commotion in the place from all of the customers and staff, and I don't think
the music added to the experience.

Anyway, I love diners and family restaurants.(It was sad to see Best Place on Bellflower close last year.) I'm definitely adding the Black Bear to my circuit of breakfast and lunch places.

Price of most entrees is $8-$9. It's open til 10 on weeknights, 11 on Friday and Saturday nights. Best of luck to them!

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