Brandi says 'Greetings!'

Type of food
Diner food
255 2nd Street
6 AM - 10 PM Daily
(530) 756-4190
Price range
$8 - $16
Service speed
10-20 minutes
Type of restaurant
Payment Methods
Cash, Check, Credit Cards, Other

Black Bear Diner is a local restaurant chain that serves classic diner fare, including breakfast all day. The restaurant is designed as a lodge, fully decked out with bear pictures, sculptures, and more. When you walk in the door, you're met with a life size bear who is the official host "mascot" for each restaurant... the one for Davis is named "Brandi". Their menu is in a faux newspaper ostensibly from the early days of the Diner (someone want to provide a photo and/or date?). It has some history for the business, which is fun to read.

They have fresh made cream pies and apple, peach and "blackbeary" cobbler. They also make shakes with fresh "blackbearys". They are the only restaurant in town that regularly serves prime rib (on Fridays and Saturdays). Their burgers are also quite good and a good alternative to one of the more trendy eating establishments in town.

Portions here are huge no matter the meal. At breakfast, they serve biscuits that must be close to a half pound. As a side. It's a good place to nurse that hangover after a night out. Friendly, not too loud, with decent coffee and plenty of food. The clientèle on a weekend morning tends to be pretty family oriented with a mixture of families and students in the evenings. Overall, Black Bear Diner is a very safe place to bring the parents when you've already taken them to Burgers & Brew and Crepeville.

Their location was formerly a Baker's Square prior to their opening day on May 22, 2009. Previously, the building was occupied by "Seasons" (not to be confused with the Seasons upscale restaurant in Davis today, was more like Denny's), and prior to that, it was originally a Sambo's. From 1915 until sometime in the 60s, the University Hotel building stood in this spot.

They got rid of the famously delicious scalloped potatoes (updated March 2010) because they're "trying to cut back," but they have brought back their green beans with bacon. For the holiday season, they have pumpkin and pecan pies. Potential to have full pies back for the holiday season! (updated October 2010)

For the football season, they are starting an all you can eat rib special on Monday nights. Sit in the back room, watch the game, and eat all you can eat ribs! (updated October 2010)

Their title font is either Revue or Ragtime (which are clones of each other).

Another good restaurant to take kids. They have a fun kiddie menu and the servers bring crayons.


Read a feature blog about the food and a brief history of Black Bear Diner in a March 2010 post by Davis Life Magazine.

Wait a second! Are you about to add a comment? Why not just click edit and add to the entry itself? You've been there... you know the place... write about it right in the entry itself for people who haven't been there! Go ahead and put your opinions in the entry itself — if somebody disagrees (or you disagree with what is there), anybody can add a different viewpoint to the entry, balancing it out and reflecting the community that you are a part of. Speak up, speak loud, and add your own viewpoint to the entry, not just a review!


Bob's Big Bear Burger

The bear claw



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2009-03-22 14:21:52   If it is anything like the ones I have been to (nearer to Chico) this will probably be quite a popular place for those that want massive dinners at not such a bad price point. Not sure if lunches are the same. I don't know if likening it to Denny's is fair, but you could think of it that way but themed and with massive portions begging to be taken home. Although their menu is large, it probably won't be too great place for vegetarians. —RyanMikulovsky

Neither was Baker's Square. When I went there, I was chagrined to see that even their salads all had meat in them. So no net loss for vegetarians... Looks like Black Bear follows the same pattern— steak salad, chicken salad, taco salad, etc.

    • I think diners are required by statute to either have meat or fry something on every plate.

    • You'd be correct: article 5 section 103 of the state constitution

2009-03-22 18:31:09   Ate here yesterday at their Concord location. Yes confirmed on the very huge plates of food but I would say definitely a huge step above Denny's. Large menu, fair prices anywhere from about 8.99 to 14.99 for a dinner plate. I'm looking forward to it as yesterday my tri-tip sandwich was rocking good. —loneshark

2009-03-23 17:20:33   We've eaten at the "original" one in Shasta... pretty good, especially for the $$$. Sad to see BS go, but I hope this place works out. —Aaron.Curtin

2009-04-24 17:58:01   I've eaten at the Black Bear Diner in Walnut Creek and Gilroy. The food is very similar to Baker's Square, except it's arguably better, and they have a great selection to choose from. The portions are extremely large and are reasonably priced for what you get. I would be very excited about this if I still lived in Davis rather than just visiting occasionally.


    2009-05-06 16:00:25   I've eaten at the Black Bear Diner many a time in Rohnert Park when I was living up there. Aside from their overuse of fennel in their country gravy, everything is pretty darn good! —JohnDudek

    2009-05-15 20:40:25   When does this open? It's looking really nice inside! —OrofinJackson

    2009-05-17 11:30:33   According to their website "Look for the newest Black Bear Diner in DAVIS, Ca opening May 22, 2009 at 255 2nd Street (530)756-4190", so it should be open May 22... —AlexNelson

    2009-05-21 10:04:55   I like to think of this restaurant as a place you take your parents to dinner when they come and visit, and they are the kind of folks that are not interested in delicious, ethnic foods or cutesy Davis diners and would rather go for a TGIF or Applebee's, etc. Those are my parents. Needless to say, I have eaten at a Black Bear Diner before and I did like it. I'm going to miss Baker Square pies, but I guess if it had to go than this is as good as a replacement as any. —ChristyMarsden

    2009-05-22 17:50:12   Stopped by here on opening day today around 10:45am. My partner and I both thought they did a great job remodeling the interior and it had a theme type feel to it without being silly. They had plenty of staff in all areas of the restaurant and a good mix of seating options. We received water quickly, had menu items explained and received great service throughout. For a soft opening it seemed quite busy during our entire time. The two of us ordered the Tri-Tip dip with fries and the French Toast with bacon, scrambled eggs and a biscuit. The food was great and beyond my expectations for their first day. They have a pie case as well that had some great looking berry and cream pies. They also have this Bear Claw that looked big enough to serve 6.

    Totally happy that Black Bear has arrived here. Great menu choices, tasty food and a much better all around meal choice than Baker's square in our opinion. Definitely will be returning here again. —loneshark

    2009-05-22 21:30:27   I'd never been to a Black Bear Diner before and was there for today's opening. The service is excellent. The servers are assisted by bussers and runners. Someone is always checking to make sure you have everything you need. I ordered the "Small Volcano" (pancakes, egg, and a bacon and sausage) and a side of fruit and coffee for breakfast. The coffee was good, but the pancakes were so so and the bacon was overcooked. The strawberries and chopped melon were not fresh. Overall, I gave the breakfast a grade of C+. I returned later to try dinner. The server was a young guy who didn't seem very familiar with the menu. I asked about the Meatballs & Spaghetti with the side of Scalloped Potatoes, and he said they were good. They weren't. The spaghetti was average, but the meatballs were dry. The potatoes were cold and not very tasty. I gave the dinner a C+. It's possible that I ordered the wrong dishes. My son said he went to a Black Bear in another city and liked their egg dishes, especially the omelettes. Give it a try. You'll like the service.


      2009-05-22 22:25:42   So, what's the bear? Bob Dunning said we would get a special "Davis-oriented" bear. —CovertProfessor

      • 2009-05-22 22:44:36   CovertProfessor, if you were facing the front door of Black Bear Diner, there is a statue of a bear with a bike on the right-hand side in the landscaping. —evergeneva

        • Who is riding? Oh my God, bear is riding! How can that be?!?

        • Excellent! I will have to go have a look at the biking bear. —CovertProfessor

          • Alas, the statue was only of a bear standing next to a bicycle. However, there was a silhouette of a bear riding a bicycle on the side of the building. —CovertProfessor

      2009-05-25 14:55:51   it's bomb, had the chorizo. They have a menu section that is for HUGE portions, they have "regular portions" (still huge, my chorizo was ordered from this section) and then "less than" which is for Mature Davisites like my folks. They went above and beyond with the service, partly because they are brand new, and partly because it seems to be a big selling point of black bears (Ie Huge portions and good service)

      I had a minor goof with my biscuit that was quickly remedied into an english muffin. Folks were nice, and I saw Dorris (of Bakers square fame) holding it down as well.

      My partner got a Benedict and pronounced it excellent.

      We will be back —StevenDaubert

      2009-05-25 17:52:59   My partner and I dined here last night around 7pm. It was pretty busy. We waited about 10 minutes to be seated (no complaint here). I ordered the Patty Melt, my partner ordered the cheeseburger with bacon. Both were mediocre; nothing special. Maybe we just ordered the wrong (boring) things. Service was not great. The waiter was not good about refills (which is how we mainly measure quality of service). We had to wait about 10-15 minutes for our first refill and had to flag him down at that. Waiter seemed to be busy moving tables around for a larger group. I will try again ordering different things. —EricaMacGregor

      2009-05-29 09:03:22   I'm hoping they'll serve a decent chicken fried steak. —MasumiWatanabe

      2009-05-31 05:01:00   I went here for the first time this past Thursday with MasonMurray. I was a bit overwhelmed by the bear bear bear decor, but I suppose that's working on a theme. ;D The service was friendly, and I noted with entertainment that every waiter I saw had tattoos. (Not a bad thing, I just idly wondered where all that ink had come from. Think of it as complimentary eye candy.) Service was very friendly, especially with how busy it was. A little slow, yes, but it was totally packed in there so it's to be expected. As to the food, I ordered the cinnamon roll French toast. I remembered shortly afterward that I had neglected to state which one I wanted, the full or the smaller version. When it arrived, it was one large roll that had been sliced, battered, and cooked up. I assume it was the small, having seen the other plates around, and that was just fine with me since I'd already eaten an actual meal. I never saw the bill, having made Mason treat me like a... lady... and pay (he owes me!) so I suppose I'll only know if I go back and order it again. The toast was quite tasty, though it was a little overcooked to fully brown rather than the light gold that I prefer. Not burned by any means, but more done than suits French toast. The taste was great, though, so it was no trouble to me. Since this was late in the evening, I'm fairly sure it was in part due to that shift of staff being in a new setup AND doing a breakfast dish during dinner hours. With the prices being so right and a fascinating menu, I do intend to return again and give them a real shot at me on an empty stomach. In a week or two, perhaps. We'll see.

      Impressions: Environment: B. A little noisy, sounds and visuals. Service: A. I found the staff likable and they were definitely hopping. Food: B. Still confused about what exactly I ordered, but I'll figure it out eventually. My bad. Overall: A-. Not bad for opening week. —KBathory

      2009-05-31 12:02:37   ... delicious food, nom nom nom! I'm glad to have a place that serves comfort food.

      Try the scalloped potatoes, really good. And the dinner bread. —ChristyMarsden

      2009-05-31 12:22:13   Mini-review: The decorations are campy and fun; a nice departure from the pretentiousness of a lot of other Davis restaurants. The food is definitely quantity over quality; great for poor college students! —TheAmazingLarry

      2009-05-31 16:20:18   Having gone back to blackbear 3 times, this time I tried the bigfoot chicken friend steak and it was MASSIVE and BOMB. It comes with 3 eggs (I went over medium) and I got the country friend potatoes instead of the stripped hash browns. Huge portions, quick drink refills, lots of friendly yet very busy employees. I've caught a glance of the Reuben a couple times, and apparently they use 2 more oz of meat than the average sammicch! —StevenDaubert

      2009-05-31 18:34:22   We ate there on Sat. day at lunch 11am. The menu and food were very similar to BS, my daughter noted the kid's menu was exactly the same except one item. The food was decent. Our server seemed a little confused, forgot to ask what sides we wanted and had to come back not once but twice to ask, maybe a newbie to waiting tables. I found the decor to be way over the top but typical of these diners especially when they first open. I thought it was interesting that with so much themed decoration, not a single thing had been done to the woman's bathroom. Guys, any bears in your neck of the woods? I would go back, especially if accompanied by family members. —HazelWatson

      2009-05-31 22:42:02   I ate at Black Bear Diner recently. The food is very good for a diner, better than Denny's at the very least. The menu seems interesting, and there are a few nice sides and items that are decent. The atmosphere is great, and the service was good. I got my food in about 10 minutes for a tri-tip dinner. The portions are huge, and for the price, it's quite fair. I will definitely be going back in the future (no more having to go to Denny's in Woodland). —IdealParadigm

      2009-06-01 01:44:49   This place is amazing! I got the breakfast version of the BIGFOOT chicken friend steak with 2 biscuits, three eggs and garlic fries (substituted) for $9.95. I shared this meal with my BF and we had leftovers! Here's the breakdown:

      Chicken fried steak= HUGE! and white gravy = yummy! Buscuits: these are the largest biscuits I have ever seen in my whole life! I was able to slice these bad boys easily into three layers. I like to call these HUMUNGO MUTATED biscuits. Tried it with gravy and strawberry jam. It was delicious! Seriously, these biscuits are really huge. I'm not kidding. Eggs: these were ok. Can't really mess this up. Although, in my preference, I'd rather not have by eggs drenched in butter. I felt it was a bit too greasy but again, this is just my taste preference. Garlic fries: I've had better. I think it lacked salt which is understandable for customers who limits their salt intake and it can always be added. Service: Very good. We were checked on at least 3 times by our waiter and surprisingly, at least once by another waitress. Very friendly and accommodating.

      Overall, I really liked this place for the amount of food, price and dining experience. C'mon, a meal under $15 (including tip) for two people with potential leftovers (depends on how famished you are) to take home ? Oh and I absolutely loved their huge stuffed animal bear that was sitting on the bench in front of the cash register. (not the picture shown above)

      I will be back. I heard from my friends that their ribs, scallop potatoes and onion rings were good. Must try these next. —KimN.

      2009-06-02 14:35:50   I went to Black Bear Diner today for the first time, and I had the most amazing experience. As a server in Davis, I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with the quality food, service, atmosphere, and management. The following is a list of reasons to eat at Black Bear Diner. My experience is based on the breakfast menu; however, their lunch and dinner looks fantastic.

      1) The place is beautiful! It has the feel of a mountain lodge diner with large tables and booths. The interior is truly amazing. 2) The food comes plenty and fast! I have to say that the food was twice as large and twice as good as ihop (which I consider to have some amazing breakfast food). The restaurant had a wait list (approx 15 mins at the time), and it took less than 10 mins to have our food cooked and served once we ordered at the table. 3) The food is cheep! Approx $8-11 per dish, and you have the option of smaller dishes and healthy (vege/ low carb) options, including whole grain pancakes and egg substitute. 4) Our server was FANTASTIC. It seemed as every person in the restaurant was working hard and really enjoyed their jobs. The business is very committed to service. We were approached immediately! Our questions were well answered. And even though our order was complicated and very customized, she managed to get everything perfect. The employees were all very busy, yet they still seemed to be having fun, which I love. Our server was sassy and sarcastic—very funny—yet respectful, knowledgeable, and committed to service (what you would expect from a ma n' pa, log-cabin style diner. 5) The management is COMMITTED to service and quality. Each table is set with a place mat that outlines their goals and commitment to a quality experience and quality breakfast, lunch, or dinner. After introducing herself, our server apologized for the MAYBE 15 min wait and brought waters and drinks immediately. BOTH THE ASSISTANT AND GENERAL MANAGERS approached the table on their own accord to inquire about our experience with the food and service (and waited until after our meal so as not to interrupt our eating). They listened to our comments and wished us a great day. I was SOOOOOO impressed. 6) The food is FREAKIN' AMAZING!!!!

      Take a date...take a friend...take a professional football team for how much food they give you! But this place is a true GEM of Davis!!!!! Thank you for the experience. I'm a customer for life! —seanyb47

      2009-06-04 14:58:26   They couldn't put together a table for 12 after allowing us to wait for 30 min after our reservation time. Be aware of bringing large groups during lunch hour (even with reservations). I was heartened to see the bear holding the neon sign was not an actual stuffed bear, although the original BB diner may have used one. —kidneuro

      2009-06-05 18:57:25   Ditto what everyone has said about the portion sizes. I ordered a small Volcano and they accidentally brought me a regular—and were nice enough to only charge me for the small. My kids were beside themselves with joy; this will be their new favorite place and they can stop nagging me to take them to Applebee's, which I loathe, and Pluto's, which I'm tired of. The food was decent diner food, nothing special. The granola pancakes were chewy and dense and flavorful. Not a great place for vegetarians or people who don't eat a lot of red meat (no turkey or veg burgers on menu, although they do have chicken breast sandwiches). Go with an empty stomach and plan not to eat for the rest of the day; and if you're sensitive to shock, do not look at this web page, which contains the nutrition information for the menu: Those "a little less" meals for seniors and light eaters? Some of them are 1000+ calories, and the bear claw alone is >2400 calories, more than an average-sized person should eat in a whole day. Yikes. Not to single out Black Bear, by any means; I'm sure the numbers are similar for Chili's and Denny's and places like that. Just be aware. —Virginia

      2009-06-05 23:07:57   My friends and I, 8 total, showed up at 5:30 PM on a Friday, we were seated in about 5 minutes. The service is premiere, friendly, attentive, and understanding. I think everything's priced as expected, nothing is overly expensive. Two of my friends ordered the Bob's Big Bear Burger or something, and it looked pretty big, they said it was pretty good, two of them ordered the B.L.A.S.T. (bacon, lettuce, avocado, Swiss cheese, and tomato) and said it was fine/nothing special. I saw their order of pancakes, they are huge, they give you two, which is probably equal to 4-5 IHOP pancakes, it's RIDICULOUS when you see them. I personally ordered the BBQ Pork Ribs which were TO DIE FOR. It was like biting heaven or something, the meat fell off the bone, melted in my mouth. The sides that came with it, clam chowder, macaroni and cheese, and country potatoes were pretty mediocre; those sides aren't anything I would look forward to, they can do the job of filling you up, and all together, it's SO MUCH FOOD. There was also a piece of garlic bread which was tasty. One of my friends got the pot pie and said it was really good, she also got "hot" maple syrup spilled on her accidently by the waitress who immediately got her a wet towel to wipe herself off. Even better, she didn't have to pay for her meal! Come here for the service, TRY THOSE RIBS, everything else may not be that special. What people say is pretty true, the portions are HUGE if you order full meals/dinner items. I want to come back and try their breakfast dishes and omelets and scrambles. I like this place, it was a lot of food, it's not the healthiest food, it's super hearty. I wouldn't mind returning every now and then, if anything, it's just a super friendly IHOP, but it feels less cheap, more family like and warm. TRY THOSE RIBS!!!!! —CoreyPham

      2009-06-06 22:57:50   Just in response to kidneuro, Black Bear does not take reservations. —Shmem

      2009-06-07 04:08:58   I had lunch there with a friend recently. Very good meal. I wasn't too hungry, so i had a half turkey sandwich and a chicken noodle soup, both were pretty good. My friend got a burger with fries and couldn't really finish it. The server was kind of lacking, but nothing to bad, just forgot my friends drink. He was fine with water though. Other than that, pretty good service, decent food, and fairy cheap for decent portions. We need more places like this in Davis. Suggestion for later hours on weekends???? We need more late-night places in Davis! —mperkel

      2009-06-09 19:16:48   BBD bearclaws for breakfast, ggrrrrROARRRRRrrr!!!!!! —TheAmazingLarry

      2009-06-14 12:56:28   very large portions but i thought the food here was somewhere between 3-4 on a scale of 1-10. i could barely eat the meatloaf i ordered that was drenched in this brown gravy that had no flavor. my friends ordered the country fried steak and some other breakfast mix, which they agreed was not very good. maybe we ordered the wrong items but i will probably never come back here —skinnyfatgirl

      2009-06-14 13:29:21   VERY large portions. Not terribly healthy food. Moderately tasty. If you eat here, you should probably not eat everything they bring you. It's probably twice the amount of food that most people could reasonably eat. See this Doonesbury comic for some thoughts on this... —IDoNotExist

      2009-06-14 19:47:46   My partner had a beef burger, and thought it was just "OK." I had a chicken burger — I think it was called the Hawaiian burger — with teryaki sauce and pineapple. I was quite pleased that it was a piece of grilled chicken rather than ground up chicken with whatever else in it, and overall, it was pretty tasty. (My sandwich bun was different and better than my partner's... odd). But that was about all we were happy with. In a foolish attempt to be healthy, we got salads, but the salad was nothing to write home about and the dressing was truly vile, and I am not a salad dressing snob by any means. We also split the chocolate lava cake topped with ice cream for dessert. It was just... eh. Not very flavorful, and microwaved to be way too hot. I wouldn't bother with it again.

      As for portions, the burgers we got were pretty normal as burgers go. But we did watch the table next to us and I can confirm what others hear have said... the "small" dinners are large, and the "regular" dinners are insanely huge.

      On another note, the kitchen couldn't seem to manage a simple cheese substitution — not a big deal, but for a place that calls itself a "diner," substitutions like that are standard. It just reinforces the fact that this places isn't really a diner, more like a family restaurant that specializes in huge portions of American comfort food. I wish Davis really did have a decent diner. —CovertProfessor

      2009-06-15 17:37:06   Ate here for breakfast recently, food was good overall: My ham and eggs were pretty mediocre, hash browns were bleh (although the alternative potato option was pretty good). But, the BISCUITS, they had to be the largest I've ever seen along with the most delicious. I'd come here for breakfast every weekend just to get some biscuits, which as it was probably would have been enough food, the serving sizes are massive (and generously priced).

      Service was good. —JamesWaterhouse

      2009-06-21 00:50:02   unfortunately, the food is generally bad (after trying it twice: meatloaf/breakfast combo). Kind of a lot of food (makes about 2 meals. Meatloaf: kinda fatty tasting and I recommend they use only one kind of cheese in their mac & cheese. Vegetables were the best part. Breakfast combo: eggs were kind of dry. Sausage was good. —Babhari

      2009-06-22 21:46:51   BETTER THAN EXPECTED!!! I did not hear about this place until a friend told me about the restaurant. It turns out that the staff is extremely warm and helpful. I ordered a pot pie and was delicious! While the waitress served our table, she accidentally spilled maple syrup on my jacket. She quickly grabbed me towels and apologized. The diner payed for my meal for this accident. I'm very impressed with the quality of the food and service. Give this place a try for a hearty meal!! —Ann

      2009-07-05 09:31:08   Everything I have gotten has been great! I keep coming back; however, the sandwiches aren't the best. (i.e. French Dip didn't come with cheese) —aaron.smith

      2009-07-09 11:06:32   I went there a couple of weeks after it opened, and was underwhelmed. The decor, while cute in that they went as far as they did with it, is just too much. I miss the comfort of Baker's Square. The decor is like a sensory overload at this place. I ordered a chicken pot pie and fries, and I believe every meal comes with salad and some sort of bread. Way too much food, which I would never complain about if the food were amazing. The pot pie was just okay...not hot enough on the inside, and the crust was too hard. The service was great- very enthusiastic, and pretty much anyone who walked by asked how we were doing even though we obviously had one server for our table. All in all, I'd give it a C+...just average. And for entertainment's sake, I have to add that I have seen some of BBD workers in their uniforms shotgunning beers across the street from the diner. I wonder if they went back to work after that? —Kiran

      2009-07-09 21:21:27   Great service (Christina) but dinner is just OK. Loved the breakfast & dessert though. —jwendt

      2009-07-10 16:32:15   They put bacon in mashed potatos and ranch, fried chicken also doesnt have much chicken mac n cheese is horrid

      Some food is good some isnt —Churro615

      2009-07-15 17:51:42   I went to Black Bear diner for the first time on Tuesday. I have to say they did a great job decorating the place. I was expecting a lot because I was a fan of Baker's Square. The portion sizes are huge which is good. The prices for what you get are very fair. Most large sized dinners for 9-14 dollars. The place was packed when we arrived ,but my friend and I were immediately seated. Service was excellent. We decided to try out the choc malt, which was amazing. We split it and each received a huge malt glass. For dinner we had chicken noodle soup which came with dinner. We had the stuffed chicken breast/ BBQ rib platter with mash potatoes and steamed vegetables. The stuffed chicken breast had a lot of flavor being stuffed with broccoli and cheese and topped with hollandaise sauce. The ribs were tasty too, fell right off the bone and the BBQ sauce was very tangy which made for a nice combination. The mash potatoes were very good. My friend had a side order of the mac and cheese and this was the one thing we did not like about this place, very bland, no flavor. For dessert we had the cobbler and lava cake. The lava cake is good although AppleBees beats this place with the Triple Choc meltdown. All in all, will look forward to going back in the future. Update: Still really good food and huge portions. I have been back to Black Bear diner about three times and had something new each time. I have tried their Tri Tip Dinner, Big Bear's Burger, Trip tip dip sandwich and criss cut fries. The service was very quick and all of our needs were met. I prefer the mash potatoes over the scalloped potatoes ,but both are good and the criss cut fries over the regular fries. The trip tip and au ju sauce was perfect. The grizz is a huge breakfast, but if you get country potatoes or hash browns ask for extra crispy. Black bear diner sure has lived up to my expectations and I cannot wait to return to keep trying new things. —ElizabethBarthel

      2009-07-17 02:59:57   Absolutely monstrous proportions, and tasty to boot! I know that a lot of people liked Baker's Square, but as long as they keep up the excellent customer service and extremely reasonable prices, I won't be going anywhere else in town for my breakfast food fix. —JoePomidor

      2009-07-17 06:49:50   Prime rib here is a little overcooked but of course this is the only location in Davis that sells prime rib, so I cannot complain. It is a pretty decent size along with the two sides and the soup/salad you get with it. They also have great customer service, they refill your drinks as soon as they run out and I love that, not many places seem to be capable of doing this. —ThUn

      2009-07-25 21:36:47   This place kicks ass! I went here with my girlfriend today and got the Guacamole and Bacon Burger w/Cheese and a side of garlic fries. She got the Chicken and Avocado club sandwich with garlic fries. The food was very tasty and filling. Yes, it's not "healthy" or whatever, but goddamn, the food is hearty and it fills you up. They were very busy but the service was still good. The prices here are also reasonable, it was just under $20 for a very filling dinner for two. I am definitely coming back sometime in the future. —ArlenKwong

      2009-07-26 19:49:18   Went here in the first couple weeks it opened. I'm from the east coast, so love diner breakfasts and was excited to try it out based on the comments. It was big, but that was about it. I found it to be on par with Dennys and IHOP, but prefer Cindy's breakfasts much more. country potatoes were pretty boring, not very much corned beef in the hash, and don't even remember the chorizo in the scramble. However, the coffee and bread pudding for dessert was quite tasty and would consider just ordering that some time. —ADP

      2009-08-10 21:15:26   I came here for Breakfast about a week ago, the food portion was huge again, and the food was great, especially for the price. I got there right when it opened, so the service was very very quick, basically just the time it took to prepare and cook the food. The waitress was very prompt and courteous. This establishment is doing well from the looks of it. —IdealParadigm

      2009-08-30 17:41:12   Prices for the portions are extremely good. I got the dinner special all-you-can-eat Fish fry meal for $9.99. The cole slaw was pretty good, as was the garlic bread. The breaded fish was over-fried, but whatever. This place is a nice place to eat with a group of friends. I will be returning. —BenLee

      2009-09-24 16:48:32   O.K..... The black Bear is a BREAKFAST place! That is their specialty. I have eaten at many locations and the breakfasts are usually great! (in a not so healthy way of coarse) but the lunch and dinners are just average. (The Monte Cristo sandwich is pretty good though). If you want a really large and fattening breakfast you will love this place. Sometimes it just hits the spot! —ashleyinthemist

      2010-01-26 20:17:19   We've eaten here a few times now and have generally been pleased. Along with El Mariachi, I'd place it as our favorite casual dining venue. I wasn't a fan of Baker's Square — the wait staff was always pleasant and the food was good (not great), but the pies, their supposed crowning glory, were consistently a let down.

      Black Bear Diner is a welcome change. The decor is fun, the seating generally comfortable, and the parking (when needed) hasn't been a problem. The wait staff has been friendly with only one exception about three months ago (not rude, just a bit more distracted and abrupt than I'm used to), drink refills have been timely, and items haven't been forgotten (except once, with the same waitress alluded to previously). The counter staff has always been friendly and helpful when checking in, checking out, asking for a item, etc.

      I've had the chicken fried steak three times (one of my favorite meals). The first two times it was the best I've ever had, bar none (and I've eaten it all over the country). The gravy, the flavor, the tenderness...unexpectedly bordering on perfection. This last time however, the steak was one of the worst I've had. The gravy was overly gelatinous, the flavor in the breading was absent, and the steak was tough ... I have no idea how they failed on all three aspects at the same time. If anyone knows if they changed anything on that menu item, please let me know so I do not order it again — what a letdown. Any insiders know if a certain cook behind the scenes is the chicken fried genius? (I could order it only when s/he is there.)

      The pot roast was really enjoyed by my other half, but I thought it was average. The biscuits were knock-your-socks-off last time, but just nice this time. The spaghetti is consistently well done for that hearty style. The sugar-free peach pie is surprisingly tasty for being a Splenda recipe...I wish I could try it with regular sugar. The bread pudding was nice, but average. Salad was par. I wish they had better jams for the biscuits instead of Smuckers tubs.

      They seem to be out of at least one item every time we go...not sure if that is poor stocking by the manager or whether they purposefully ride the line in order to avoid waste/keep things fresh.

      The portions are indeed huge. I like that since you can either share a plate or end up having another meal or two from your leftovers the next day...makes paying that tab a little easier. Expect to pay $8-$14 for a main course, $5 for dessert (if wanted), $2 for a drink (if wanted, though for some reason the water here doesn't taste as gross as most Davis water) tip.

      Anyone know if the restaurant is a locally owned franchise or owned by the company?


      2010-02-02 18:53:17   Where to begin with this place?

      I went to this diner on Sunday, January 31st to check it out during a walk around the town and found it to be an enjoyable experience overall. My girlfriend and I were greeted warmly and seated promptly in one of the booths on the A Street side of the restaurant. The first thing you will notice upon entering (if you are a longer-term Davisite) is that the overall design of the place is still very similar to the old Baker's Square. The Cashier's wrap is in the same location along with the pastry display case, the seating arrangements are the same although with new materials and a new "bar" area. The seats on the bar are designed to look as if they are old, natural wooden sculpts and swivel like captain's chairs. The general decor of the place seems an odd fit in Davis with a very backwoods feel to it, which suits me fine.

      The staff was very friendly and even answered some questions once we finished our meal (which is actually an untrue statement for I doubt many could finish the oversized portions they serve without getting a to go box). I decided to order a staple of mine for diners serving breakfast and ordered the S.O.S. (which got me a funny look and makes me wonder if I am truly that outdated) which is biscuits and country gravy. I also ordered the Ham and Chicken Omelet with a side of Hash Browns. The meal was delicious but the country Gravy was bland with an abundant flavoring of pepper which, imo, is incorrectly made. That aside though the food was excellent.

      I had to take a picture of the meal after I had finished what I could eat and showed it to the waitstaff and even the store manager. They didn't seem surprised by it although it shocked me. I literally had an entire meal in a box to go home (making my $14.00 purchase for two meals rather than one) and it caught me off guard. I do not understand why the servings need to be so large unless you want the customers to stay away from your restaurant instead of dining in the place every day or so(and the food is good enough to do exactly that). I was told that it happens frequently (about 50% of the customers leaving with an entire second meal in a box). That just makes me wonder about cost of food and overhead and longevity of the establishment. I love the place but really don't see how they will be able to stay in business if this trend continues.

      With that being the absolute worst thing I can say about the place I rate it 4/5 stars and that's only coming from a business-mind standpoint. I am sure it would garner a 5/5 for quality, service and pricing with just about everyone else that might visit.


        2010-02-11 17:01:25   Black Bear is by far the best place to eat value-wise. The prices are competitive and the portions, my god the portions, are ginormous. Yes, Black Bear is unhealthy, is that a surprise? Any food sprawled out onto a platter twice the size of your face is bound to be bad for you, regardless if its baked chicken breast or chicken breast battered, deep-fried, and drizzled with gravy. For the amazing price you get good, hearty food (the food probably literally affects your heart, but oh well). Black Bear definitely beats IHOP. Too bad Black Bear closes at 10, if they were open up to IHOP hours much of IHOP's business would surely be stolen. If you are going to eat here be sure to leave your health worries behind because no matter what you order, you could easily be put on track toward heart problems - but then we all have free will so if you are that concerned about calories and arteries being clogged, it'd be best not to set foot into Black Bear in the first place! Eat, savor the taste, pack some home (you surely will have to box something), and be merry!

        ***Unlike other seemingly unhealthy places, Black Bear has taken the responsibility to publish the nutritional value of their menu. Though you'd be best not to look at it because the figures are discouraging.

        Oh, and to WesOne's comment, the insanely large portions is one of their business models. If I remember correctly, on that menu they give you there is a bit detailing the chain's history and it stated clearly that they aimed to provide "generous portions." So I guess they find it a suitable business idea. —blastoff

        2010-02-16 10:31:34   If you are trying to watch your weight, I suggest getting a take-out container when your meal is served and filling it before eating. The portions are so large and the food so good that otherwise you'll end up overeating. —JimStewart

        2010-02-28 22:42:05   After living in NY state for several years and greatly enjoying the diners there, I had high hopes about BB. My first meal there was alright, though I found a hair in my food (never fun) and the orange juice was not great, especially for the price ($4 was half the cost of my meal, and would normally buy you 1-2 beers depending on brand, time of day, and location). Other than that, seemed like good variety and service was quick. May give it a second shot sometime, but I wish it was real diner that stayed open 24/7. —sgilmore

        [nbsp] I tried the 6.99 Steak and Eggs special that they were running today. Delicious. Huge steak, two eggs, tons of hash browns, and a massive biscuit. I think that Cindy's may be somewhat better, but they have nothing on these portions. —FredericChristie

        2010-03-14 22:30:14   LOVE THIS PLACE! Great food and service. Sadly on sunday they are out of a lot of stuff around dinner time though :( —Dozer

        2010-04-29 15:23:34   THis place is great. Biscuits are delicious. A great hangover cure —Ldish949

        2010-05-16 16:52:09   Can someone please post pictures of the menu (with prices)? The one that's listed doesn't include any prices... I hate it when restaurants do that. —StephanieRobinson

        2010-05-21 16:47:38   Check splitting issue last night. Everytime we've come into Blackbear as an organization group of about 17-20 members, they usually accommodate us very well. And the past waitresses/managers have been more than willing to split the check individually for each of our members without complaint. This time that didn't happen. There was a different manager on shift that we've never seen before and she would not split up the check for us. She split it only 6 ways into a very confusing check where some had drinks, some had parts of orders, it was all a mess. I don't like the inconsistency factor. In the past they've always told us "come by again, we're always willing to split the check and accommodate you all." So why not this time? The reason we come here is for the consistent idea that we wouldn't have any problems with the bill/service. I don't know if I should complain or not the actual store owner or something. Other than that, the food was great as usual. Our waiter was very friendly and patient, I can tell he was under pressure because it seemed like the manager was focusing on getting orders out for the parties that came after us before delivering any of our meals (even the salads came after the meals). Poor guy. —ThUn

        2010-05-27 12:39:10   Nice old skool place to eat and relax. Food is average (big portions, but limited flavor), but service and laid back environment make it special. —stodd84

        2010-06-14 16:16:11   Service here is horrid. Slow, not attentive, and cannot get orders straight. I ordered a Diet Pepsi and it was totally flat, waitress said she'd check the machine but probably couldn't do anything about, and she sure didn't. A friend with me said no onions on their burger and got onions. Food is decent, but service is just bad. —redbike

        2010-06-23 10:42:42   I think the service is the best thing about the place. Doreen and Derek are my favorite servers. The food is okay. The big drawback is the fat and sodium content of their dishes. Ask for a copy of the Black Bear Diner Nutrition News before ordering. A breakfast like The Grizz consists of: Cals 1570, Fat-T 64, Fat-S 21, Sod 6180, Carb 174. Even a bowl of oatmeal, which is usually a healthy meal, has: Cals 1004, Fat-T 20, Sod 498, Carb 188. —nowhereman

        2010-07-17 22:00:34   I have eaten here on several occasions and I have been generally pleased each time. The food is pretty good and there is a TON for the price. I was a little underwhelmed about there dinner selection and I was not really impressed by the taste, but the breakfast is where they shine. I get what they call "The Grizz", and its a HUGE plate of food, I never eat more then half of it. The crew are not the best, but nothing really to complain about, and the atmosphere isn't too bad as long as its not super crowded. All in all, a much better place then Ihop or Denny's. —ThomasGoeson

        2010-10-26 22:46:14   Terrible pie substitute for Baker's Square. It seems that if I want a late night slice of pie I have to buy a whole pie from Safeway. This is extremely disheartening. —MasonMurray

        • I would think a Safeway pie would be just as disappointing... —hankim

        2010-10-27 00:33:28   Black Bear is your average fast-food-that-wishes-it-were-real-food place. The burgers are pretty good, no complaints about the meat/potato dishes. The mixed veggies are a joke, and by far the worst item on the menu is the fruit pie.

        The cream pies are actually quite good (You cant really mess up putting some pudding into a pre-made crust), but the fruit pie really was unappetizing and a waste of my money. I bought the apple pie thinking, hey, apple pie rocks! However I was sorely mistaken. I happen to be sitting at a booth with a perfect vantage point into the kitchen...and the microwave in the kitchen. I'm thinking, most places use microwaves, no big deal. But it became a big deal when I waited 15 minutes because the guy said he had to "prepare" the pie—which I was able to watch him do. The preparations were nothing but waiting around, then taking the pie out of the display case, popping it in the microwave for two minutes, and bringing it out in a bowl with whipped cream on top. So whatever, I decided to deal with my long wait for microwaved pie, that's probably how most fast food places do it too. But I was simply appalled when I poked through the floury, flavourless crust into the bile that made up the "apple filling." The damn pie was literally filled with apple sauce. APPLE SAUCE. There was not one whole apple chunk in the pie, it was an unpleasing texture, and essentially tasted like kids unsweetened applesauce you can buy at the store. After tasting the mess, I gave up altogether.

        Looooong story short, fruit pie = bland crust with a liquid, fruit-wannabe filling, microwaved to perfection! Voila! —AshleyMatson

        • Did you miss the big sign out front? The one that says Black Bear DINER? It is very real food- not fast food, not upscale restaurant food, it's just good old fashioned hearty Americana Diner food. Meat and potatoes are the fare of the day and their focus. Not Steaks, not Filet Mignon. Can't speak for the Applesauce other than to say it really depends on the locale upon the locale it is based (yes, some use applesauce not whole apples). I suggest you hit the road and hit any truckstop or diner in any town in rural America and try the food. It will be quite similar if not a lot greasier, and just as hearty. Want Upscale, hit Seasons or something similar. Want fast food, hit up Burger King or something. Want Americana, go to Black Bear. — Wes-P

          • I couldn't disagree more. I have eaten at a lot of diners, and BBD doesn't come close to any of them. BBD's food is flavorless; you generally expect good, homemade pie at a diner, not applesauce! The fact that they call it a diner doesn't mean that it is as good as other diners. —CovertProfessor

            • Exactly my thoughts CP. I LOVE diner food, and Black Bear just doesn't compare! This is why I call it "fast-food-that-wishes-it-were-real-food"—it claims to be diner food, but really is basically fast food. And yeah, to me pies are a diner staple, and to have such terrible pie is just...not right, haha (Especially since they are advertising them in the front of the store as if they they are a quality substitute for Baker's Square, as someone suggested in an earlier comment). —AshleyMatson

              • Moral of the story: stick to breakfast here. They have yummy breakfasts :) —TomGarberson

        2010-10-30 15:57:35   Just...gross. If I'm going to treat myself to something unhealthy, it should at least be delicious. Thumbs down. —elgreen

        ***I agree!!! You said exactly what I wanted to.

        2010-11-11 15:14:05   So my boyfriend and I felt like going out for breakfast/brunch and since we've never been to Black Bear Diner we though we'd give it a try today. We really wanted to like the food, but after 45 minutes of JUST WAITING for our food to come we decided to leave. This was 45 minutes on top of having to wait 10 minutes to get our drinks and 15 minutes just to be seated. We sat there as long as we could before we became too hungry to wait any longer.

        The place was busy, and it is Veteran's Day, but the service was terrible. We saw at least 3 groups be seated after us and served within 10 minutes, while we continued to wait. We did not order some crazy meals either. I ordered pancakes, 2 eggs, and 2 bacon strips while my boyfriend ordered the same but with waffles instead. Typical breakfast order. The only table that we were okay with being served before us was the old couple, of whom the husband was an ex-POW. That's fine. The guy's an ex-POW, feed him first. He deserves it.

        We finally walked away from our table and waited at the register to talk to the manager. The table paying in front of us were also complaining to the manager about how their order was messed up twice, etc. We spoke to the manager about it (and explained how it was our first time eating at the BBD) and he apologized profusely. The manager said that they "...should be able to handle it" and "That we should have the restaurant under control..." The only redeeming part of this experience was that he wrote a handwritten note that provided two free breakfast meals. We'll probably go back to redeem the raincheck, but only if the service greatly improves, will we ever visit again.... —KaprilWooley

        2010-12-10 22:15:34   An always enjoyable and filling visit. —blastoff

        2010-12-23 13:56:31   just called to ask and they are open tomorrow (x-mas eve) —jsbmeb

        2011-03-02 11:23:25   Their food is so-so in my opinion, but it's close to campus/downtown and is decently filling if you're hungry and indecisive about where to go. —Ravyn

        2011-03-30 21:39:05   Love their tuna melt YUMMO! —purplemonkey

        2011-04-06 20:55:05   The food is gross and the servers are rude. —MaryMurphy

        2011-05-14 16:48:19   The food is not good. And the waiter was very obviously staring at my boobs. While my boyfriend on the other side of the table was giving his order the waiter was staring at my chest. Even my boyfriend noticed. —rachealgalante

        2011-06-16 11:17:55   This place is terrible for desserts and I really miss Baker's Square. Last year my husband ordered a pecan pie that was so bad it's now our benchmark for bad food. It was clearly baked elsewhere and stored for who knows how long. It had a very saccharine, syrupy flavor. The crust was inedible. —JuliaFitzgerald

        2011-06-22 14:12:26   I've said it before and i will say it again. This is primarily a breakfast place. I love the breakfast's here. The rest of the food is hit or miss. I have had a few good meals for lunch. They have good fried chicken and pot roast dinners. I had a steak dinner once and it was awful. The side of veggies are loaded in oil but mashed pots. are good. The salads are o.k 50 percent of the time.

        I'll stick to breakfast! —ashleyinthemist

          2011-06-28 16:52:52   The breakfasts here are awesome. Humongous portions for hungry-bears. —MarkTwain

          2011-07-17 00:07:26   I have eaten here a few times and every time I had a good time with good food. My one problem is that the veggies. They were overcooked and covered in oil. Other than that the rest of my food was amazing. Best thing has to order the milkshakes, no question about that! —LauraSaldana

          2011-07-20 07:33:43   Not sure if they have hired a new cook or not, but the food quality has seriously taken a dive. Walked in this morning shortly after 6 a.m. and was the first patron in the building. Upon seating I asked simply for a glass of water which came promptly, and then was handed a menu.

          I ordered 'Joes Hobo Omelet'. First thing I noticed was the excessive amount of oil on the plate, which was not just oil from the cheese( as there was very little of that on the thing, a disappointment). I decided to eat it anyway and regret doing so now.

          As I ate, I discovered the bacon was also undercooked and bordering on raw, which, as much as I love bacon, is quite disgusting. Add to this the fact that there was absolutely no onion in the dish, nor was there any sausage... two ingredients of this simple omelet completely missing. On to the sides...

          The biscuit that came with it was overdone and quite hard, reminding me of the time my father tried making bread and was able to hammer a nail into it afterwards. Inedible.

          The only thing that was done correctly was the diced potatoes, and these only partially so. The dicing was done in an incompetent manner so that half of the cubes (loosely termed) were overly large rectangular chunks and the other half were quite small. Very amateurish and not very professional. Other than the dicing job, the potatoes were edible and cooked well which is more than I can say for the rest of the breakfast platter.

          I went to the counter to pay, asked for a to go box and left, throwing the remainder of the meal away in the outdoor receptacle (yes, I know it was a waste of food and an unfortunate use of Styrofoam... I just didn't wish to make a scene at 6:30 in the morning).

          Very dissatisfied with the entire experience this morning. The server and the free jukebox were the only positive things about the days excursion. —Wes-P

          2011-07-27 00:18:11   Been here many times and mostly it's been pretty good. Pretty fast service (from my experience). The food varies at times and can be a hit or miss but majority of the time, it's been pretty pleasant. —C.Ling

          2011-07-27 16:34:42   Love the Black Bear Diner. It is one of FEW places in Davis that serves consistently good food, has consistently good service, and hasn't given my girlfriend of myself food poisoning. 5/5 from me. Particular favorites are the CA Eggs benedict, the turkey club, and the bacon cheeseburger. —angrychair

          2011-11-16 20:46:23   The service was good and the staff was friendly. Did not enjoy the food. It was greasy, overpriced, and not fresh in the slightest. The portions were also way too big and since it was so bad, I didn't even want to take the leftovers home. I got an Eggs Benedict and the hollandaise sauce was so gross I couldn't eat it; never tasted anything like it. My boyfriend got linguica and potatoes. He enjoyed the linguica (I didn't) but the potatoes were strangely flavored and tasted old. Will not be going again. —gurglemeow

          2012-02-10 23:03:39   My family tried out this dinner tonight for the first time and we really enjoyed it! The decor was a woodland forest theme with natural wood bar stools. Our hostess and server both were very friendly and good at their jobs. We were disappointed to hear that they were out of the Friday prime rib but they told us immediately which was better than finding out after making our food choices. Their menus were filled with choices and they serve breakfast all night if you like. They were also quite unique as they were printed like newspapers. The kids menu had several games and activities on it. The food was very good, portions large. I ordered a combo meal for $14.99 of tri tip and shrimp. It came with soup or salad, a choice of two sides (veggies, mashed or baked potato, fries, cole slaw or linguica beans) and I chose sauteed veggies and red skin mashed potatoes with gravy. The meal was preceded by the salad and a giant muffin sized serving of corn bread. My tri tip was delicious! There were only 4 or 5 fried shrimp and they were okay in flavor. Next time I'll skip the shrimp.The salad was large and had cherry tomatoes, grated carrot and onion. The corn bread was very tasty. My husband ordered the special for $9.99 which was some kind of fried fish (all you can eat) with french fries and cole slaw. The server came back to inform us that they were out that fish but would give us the cod that usually comes with their non all you can eat fish and chips as well as allow it to be all you can eat. He enjoyed his meal quite a bit. When the server set his first plate down she asked if he would like her to order his next plate right away. This was nice and he didn't have much of a wait for his next serving. My daughter ordered the mac & cheese with fruit from the kids menu and and an orange juice (fresh squeezed) and we were informed that all kids dinners come with a complimentary sundae. Her food was just what you would expect from a kids menu, no more no less. All the food was great and service too. There was quite a wait to pay on the way out but the restaurant had just seated two large parties in addition to being busy. We will eat here again.


            2012-08-17 04:57:42   My boyfriend and I used to come here often. I would get the bbq ribs which were decent and he would always get a hot dinner. The portions are HUGE but of course that's expected from a diner. The price is decent for its portion sizes. We would also sometimes get the desserts - blackberry pie a la mode.. dang it now I am making myself hungry. Anyway, this is a typical American restaurant with huge portions and a lot of cholesterol. —Kpianist

            2012-12-21 01:36:18   I have been here several times now. A few times with my family and friends. I must say, this is the one restaurant that has continued to satisfy me every time and not have me leave in disappointment. Sure sometimes the prime rib doesn't come out as rare as I want it to ... the food still tastes great.

            I've had the prime rib special (medium rare) with fries (extra crunchy!) and sauteed veggies. I've also had the classic burger and other plates before. The food may have a minor thing that disappoints me - as mentioned: the prime rib not coming out not as rare as I want it to, or the fries not being crunchy, or the sauteed veggies coming out too salty/down-right bland - but I am always content with the food that they serve me.

            Note: the CORNBREAD! Definitely one of the best I've ever had anywhere. The soup really depends on you. I'm not much of a soup person (clam chowder/broccoli soup/chicken noodle soup), but I would say the soup is okay.

            The dessert - I've had the strawberry cheesecake, (a type of berry) ice cream, an apricot pie, and others. They were quite tasty. All except for the strawberry cheesecake. The strawberry cheesecake just wasn't to my taste, but that can be different for everybody.

            On a last note, the staff is very friendly. You can easily engage in small chit-chat with anyone of them and inquire about the specials or ask for recommendations. —AWai

            2014-06-21 15:42:07   I've been here quite a few times, and I've always enjoyed my meals. Echoing what most people say, the portions are great for the price, the food quality is good to great (usually not quite excellent), but what would you expect from a $10 giant plate of food. I went there recently for the all you can eat fish fry, and I was very disappointed with it. My fish was either burnt to a crisp or soggy and underdone (all on the same plate). Being all you can eat I choked down as many of these woeful bits of fish as I could, slathering them in their hot sauce which I discovered was very tasty. So at least there's that... —JamesKrause