Construction of anticipated Black Bear Diner progressing

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The construction of a Black Bear Diner in Valencia is underway. The restaurant is anticipated to take shape within the former Applebee’s location near the southeast corner of Creekside Road and Valencia Boulevard. The location is expected to open in spring 2018, according to the company’s website.

Original story published on May 13, 2016 at 5:47 p.m.

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Or rather, black bears to be more specific.

Adorned by carved wooden bears as the signature trademark to its restaurants, Black Bear Diner expects to open its first Santa Clarita restaurant sometime in the first quarter of next year, a spokesperson for the chain said.

Black Bear Diner is going into the space formerly occupied by Applebee’s restaurant on the corner of Valencia Blvd. and Creekside Road in Santa Clarita, confirmed Bill Bauman, executive vice president from the commercial brokerage firm Savills Studley.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

And Bauman did not confirm whether the restaurant was occupying the entire square footage of the stand-alone retail space in the Creekside Plaza retail center, anchored by Barnes & Noble.

Founded in 1995, the restaurant has a bear-themed restaurant with carved wooden bears and murals. It serves homestyle-family breakfast, lunch and dinner meals – serving breakfast dishes all day long.

Co-founders Bruce Dean and Bob Manley opened their first diner more than 20 years ago at the foothill of Mt. Shasta in California.

Both graduates of California university system, the two men describe themselves on their website as just “a couple of hungry guys with a big dream who began preparing home-cooked meals that reflected their small-town roots.”

Dean, who is also Chairman of the Board of the California Restaurant Association, created the recipes for some of the menu items himself. He’s credited as being the behind the bear-sized portions the eatery serves.

Manley, described as a “visionary, dreamer and storyteller,” is the heart, soul and creator of the Black Bear Diner brand concept, the firm’s website states.

Prior to the diner, he was the owner of the Black Bear Gallery, an educator, and wilderness guide. Today, he wears a lucky bear claw around his neck.

In a nod to their small town roots, the co-founders credit the artists responsible for cresting the bear carvings and murals at their restaurants by name on the restaurant’s website. The owners even hand out the phone number of the wood figure carver.

Now a franchise-based chain, Black Bear Diner has a goal of opening 100 restaurants by 2018.

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