The Untold Truth Of Black Bear Diner

Black Bear Diner is more than just a restaurant. They've quickly made a name for themselves with an emphasis on family dining and their reverence for the mighty American black bear. With wooden furniture and an old-timey style, the restaurants feel intentionally frozen in time, offering diners a cozy glimpse into the past, serving up hearty meals to customers in cabin-themed spaces for over a quarter-century. With a delicious menu focused on fresh ingredients that offers breakfast all day, lunch staples like cheeseburgers and club sandwiches, and classic dinners like roasted turkey and pot roast, it's no wonder they've become one of America's most beloved restaurants. 

Aside from these defining features, what else do you know about Black Bear Diner? We did a deep dive to explore more interesting facts about this rising chain with mid-century flair, and we're here to share it with you. This is the untold truth of Black Bear Diner.

Black Bear Diner fundraises for National Parks

As a restaurant with a distinct flair that's heavily wooded and nature-based, Black Bear Diner has proven its love of Mother Nature goes above and beyond mere aesthetics. In an effort to further showcase their appreciation for the environment, the award-winning chain made the honorable decision to help support the National Park Foundation's Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks. Its mission: conserve and preserve more than 84 million acres of natural landscapes and help the community behold the marvelous wonders of the natural world.

To raise money and honor the partnership, Black Bear Diner summoned one of the most popular menu items in America: the beloved cheeseburger. The company created a promotional menu item called the National Parks burger that featured two juicy 5-ounce. all-beef patties, thick-cut bacon, melted cheddar cheese, a fried egg, and crispy onion rings. Black Bear Diner donated a portion of all National Parks burger sales from all of their restaurants to the National Park Foundation. Before the creation of the National Parks burger, Black Bear Diner and the National Park Foundation had also teamed up for National Park Week. The goal of the partnership was to raise more awareness about the importance of community investment in our national park system.

Black Bear Diner uses hand-crafted jukeboxes

Along with its cozy cabin aesthetic, Black Bear Diner also features real-deal jukeboxes in their restaurants to give off a truly old-fashioned, nostalgic feel. In an age when tunes have mostly transitioned into the digital realm, a nod to a bygone musical era is a charming way to stand out from the competition and offer customers something a little different. A mid-century symbol of radiant communal joy, the jukebox fits well with Black Bear Diner's focus on working to fortify a sense of community spirit.

The restaurant featured jukeboxes in their restaurants at the beginning of their rollout over two decades ago, but the music industry has changed a lot over the course of a couple of decades. Black Bear Diner smartly decided to convert their CD-centric jukeboxes and provide a touchscreen for musical selections instead. They worked with Rock-Ola, which has been making jukeboxes for nearly 100 years, to make a prototype. The restaurant made modifications and settled on a customized model with hand-crafted features to reflect a more authentic appearance that harkens back to the good old days.

Black Bear Diner helps rescues cubs from wildfires

Sadly, with wildfires increasingly raging across the country during the summers, more animals are being deeply affected by the blazing wreckage, including bears. Some wildlife advocates are even calling for a halt to bear hunting in areas devastated by fire in an effort to allow the bears proper time to recuperate.

As a restaurant that boasts a love of bears, Black Bear Diner decided to step up to the plate and help out in a big way. The restaurant envisioned a new bear rehabilitation facility called Bear Cub University and then connected with Gold Country Wildlife Rescue to make their dream come true. Black Bear Diner raised more than $17,000 thanks to corporate backing with a total goal of $250,000 needed to finalize the facility. The wildlife rehabilitation facility will focus on supporting bear cubs that have been injured and lost their habitats from local wildfires. Rehabilitation will include guided programs to help the cubs learn how to forage so they can eventually return to the wild again.

Black Bear Diner's pancake recipe is top secret

Let's be real: pancakes are just an excuse to have dessert for breakfast. Easy to make, yet filling and versatile with seemingly endless possibilities for toppings, pancakes are a classic crowd-pleasing breakfast staple. Subtle variations in the recipe can really elevate the texture and flavor, sending your tastebuds to heaven with sweetly stratospheric fluffiness.

Black Bear Diner understands the power of pancakes. The success of Black Bear Diner's legendary Sweet Cream Pancakes just might be the reason they've made the choice to serve breakfast all day long. Apparently, tracking down the coveted recipe has proven quite elusive. Cooks across the country have tirelessly scrambled to replicate the same delicious magic conjured up on Black Bear Diner's pancake griddles. The results may be close, but it seems to the best way to experience Black Bear Diner's famous mouthwatering pancakes is to pop in hungry and order them straight from the source.

Despite the pandemic, Black Bear Diner is growing and connecting with the community

Running a business through times of tumultuousness and uncertainty is no easy feat. Yet even though thousands of restaurants have closed down due to the pandemic, Black Bear Diner has managed to not only survive, but thrive. Since the start of the pandemic, they've been on track to open at least six new restaurants. Black Bear Diner's strategy of opening up new locations in formerly-occupied spaces allows them to capitalize on emerging real estate opportunities that were previously unavailable.

Beyond this, Black Bear Diner has found new ways to connect with the community. The company recently announced that they have become the Official Family Diner for high school athletics teams across six states, a multi-year deal beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. This new partnership will increase the company's visibility through branding opportunities during athletic events at all different levels in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Black Bear Diner will offer weekly athletic-themed promotions to celebrate the partnership and the spirit of teamwork. The alliance makes perfect sense for a company focused on bringing the community together.

Black Bear Diner is helping communities in Nicaragua

Not only does Black Bear Diner appreciate good coffee — they also appreciate the farmers who work hard to grow it. Black Bear Diner boasts some of the best beans in the business with 100% of their coffee directly sourced from Nicaragua. Coffee from Nicaragua is celebrated for its diverse flavor profile and it also plays an important role in Nicaragua's economy. Because Black Bear Diner makes an effort to give back, they decided to partner with Java City Roasters and the Global Aldea Foundation to identify areas of need in Nicaragua, naming their partnership Bears Brew Back.

The Bears Brew Back partnership focuses on rolling out humanitarian projects within Nicaraguan farming communities. To get started, Black Bear Diner decided to expand water access in Mancotal, a village in Nicaragua where a lot of Black Bear Diner's coffee is sourced. Bears Brew Back is also making investments in school supplies for local students and in a mobile medical unit that travels around the area to provide routine medical care for the community.

Black Bear Diner is enhancing its layout

As the pandemic continues, Black Bear Diner is making some changes to the layouts at their new locations. In an era when social distancing is a matter of safety and public health, Black Bear Diner has wisely chosen to create more space and streamline the pickup and delivery process.

Modifications and enhancements to their kitchen and the front-of-house area have been redesigned to allow more space for employees and guests. Taking note of the rising trends with delivery and outdoor dining, Black Bear Diner is also creating a separate cooking line and pickup window for third-party orders. On top of this, Black Bear Diner is also making major investments in constructing more outdoor patio spaces at their restaurants to deal with indoor occupancy restrictions and so that guests can enjoy their meals in an open-air setting. These changes are beneficial in two ways: not only will they create a safer atmosphere for guests, but they will also allow the restaurant to speed up and streamline how they dish out their food.

Black Bear Diner offers trending menu items and special holiday meals

Black Bear Diner knows that a changing, seasonal menu is good for business and keeps things interesting for everyone. Noticing the widespread popularity of the breakfast burrito, Black Bear Diner recently decided to test a new one out stuffed with chili on their breakfast menu. While the chili-stuffed burrito was only offered for a limited time, they still have their classic one on the breakfast menu and it's deliciously loaded with chorizo sausage, country potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, diced red onions, and cilantro.

When it comes to the holidays, Black Bear Diner also makes sure to offer customers something special. The restaurant recently celebrated St. Patrick's Day by creating the Irish Benedict, which featured perfectly poached eggs on toasted English muffins topped with griddled corned beef hash and Hollandaise sauce. For a dessert to fit the theme, they also conjured up a chocolate cookie pie with green mint cream.

For those looking for a bite on Christmas amid the sprawl of restaurants closed for the holiday, fear not: Black Bear Diner is open and ready for your company. Open on Christmas Eve and Christmas, the restaurant has created special three-course meals that are sure to fill your belly and keep you warm. This year, Black Bear Diner has offered a roasted turkey dinner, old-fashioned holiday ham, or a prime rib carved to order. Each meal comes with soup or a salad, a cornbread muffin, and a slice of pumpkin pie.

Black Bear Diner is raising the bar on animal welfare

In a world where the welfare of animals is too often ignored, it feels good to come across restaurants with enough heart to actually care. Not only does Black Bear Diner rehabilitate cubs, they are also committed to the welfare of chickens. As the most widely available and consumed meat in America, it's important to consider how our consumption of chicken impacts their living conditions and overall wellbeing. Black Bear Diner has stepped up to the challenge.

Black Bear Diner is in the process of working on offering more cage-free eggs at its restaurants. Cage-free eggs have a range of benefits, including cleaner and healthier living conditions for the chickens that will produce more nutritious eggs. Half of Black Bear Diner's locations now offer cage-free eggs and the company plans to continue expanding cage-free eggs to more locations in the years ahead. Black Bear Diner is also working with suppliers to meet broiler chicken welfare standards established by the Global Animal Partnership.