The wait for Santa Clarita’s first Black Bear Diner is nearly over.
After months of renovation in the former Applebee’s near the southeast corner of Creekside Road and Valencia Boulevard, the California-born restaurant chain will open at 6 a.m. Monday, May 28, Jerry Mercer of Elite Restaurants told The Signal on Friday.
“We’re really happy to be there!” Mercer said, adding that the Santa Clarita restaurant will be the largest of the 10 Black Bear Diners owned and operated by Elite Restaurants.
To staff what Mercer called a “monster restaurant” that, at capacity, will be outfitted to accommodate about 300 patrons, Elite Restaurants has hired 148 local employees, he said.
In addition to 48 tables and counter seating, the Santa Clarita location boasts a private banquet room with a separate entrance and restrooms, Mercer said.
The rustic, bear-themed diner is especially known for its substantial all-day breakfast menu, which includes an assortment of omelets, scrambles and benedicts, plus pancakes, waffles and more.
But, Black Bear Diner is more than breakfast, offering a variety of sandwiches, salads and entrees for lunch and dinner. The dessert menu includes three different cobblers and cream pies and, fittingly, the classic bear claw with almond filling.
“The portions are so big, you’re taking food home with you,” Mercer said.
The Santa Clarita restaurant, located at 23626 Valencia Blvd., will be open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Since opening its first restaurant in the shadow of Mount Shasta in 1995, Black Bear Diner has expanded its footprint to include more than 100 locations, primarily in California and across the western United States. The chain’s easternmost locations are in Oklahoma and Texas.
For information on Black Bear Diner, go online to its official website at www.blackbeardiner.com.
Changes coming at Valencia Auto Center
A shuffle in the Valencia Auto Center will leave Santa Clarita without Volkswagen and Mazda dealerships by the end of the month but soon introduce Porsche to the marketplace.
In an email to The Signal on Friday, Parkway Automotive Group COO Steven Keefe confirmed rumors of Parkway Volkswagen’s demise, effective May 31, citing a 40 percent loss in parts, sales and service precipitated by the VW emissions scandal that began in September 2015.
He also attributed the closure to a loss of sales to dealerships in the San Fernando Valley and urged prospective buyers to shop locally.
“If people continue to buy down in the valley, then businesses here suffer. It is not like they are getting a better deal, it is only a matter of perception,” Keefe wrote. “It does not benefit anyone to buy down in (the) valley. If they love Santa Clarita as much as they say, then please do business here. It is the only way we will grow.
“We have been in this community for 27 years. We have supported Santa Clarita and will continue to but, honestly, people need to know they need to support their community so things like this do not happen.”
Parkway has two remaining dealerships in the auto mall, where it sells Buick, Cadillac, GMV, Hyundai and Genesis vehicles.
Meanwhile, Galpin Subaru is also set to close on May 31, with Galpin reportedly set to renovate its location at 23645 Creekside Rd. to accommodate what would be the SCV’s first Porsche dealership.
While Don Fleming, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Auto Dealers Association, couldn’t confirm Porsche’s arrival, he was thrilled by the prospect.
“That’ll be a tremendous asset to Santa Clarita,” he said. “That’ll bring shoppers from all around.”
Also, Fleming said he’d heard Galpin had “found a home for Subaru,” which Keefe also confirmed to The Signal.
On the future plans for the current VW property at 24075 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Keefe wrote, “Subaru is moving there.”
Galpin had also sold Mazda vehicles at its 23645 Creekside location but, according to Fleming, Galpin’s ability to introduce Porsche was contingent on “a dedicated building” for the brand, leaving Mazda without a home.
Lee’s Hallmark to close June 30
A staple of the Santa Clarita Valley since the 1970s, Lee’s Hallmark will close this summer, according to the store’s Facebook page.
A going-out-of-business banner has also appeared on the Granary Square storefront at 25918 McBean Pkwy, which, according to the Facebook post, will soon be converted into a Starbucks.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that after 40 years of serving the Santa Clarita Valley, Lee’s Hallmark will be closing our doors for good on June 30th, 2018. Unfortunately, we have lost our lease and Starbucks will be moving into our unit. We want to thank you for your loyalty as a customer throughout the years and we will miss you,” the Facebook message reads.
Starbucks has 28 SCV locations, according to the company’s website, including its existing store in Granary Square. It’s unknown if Starbucks is moving locations within the shopping center or expanding its current location.