Black Bear Diner Doesn’t Disappoint New Diners


Credit to Michael Willmann

Black Bear Diner has been open for a little over a month and has three different portion sizes, according to their menu.

By Michael Willmann, FHNtoday Reporter

With the start of a new year comes new restaurants for residents to enjoy. Saint Charles is known for being host to a variety of different restaurants, from small Mexican places to all kinds of fast food chains. One of the newest additions, Black Bear Diner, has hit the ground running.

The restaurant just opened this year, and has been open for over a month, yet already the place is constantly packed. A few weeks ago, I went for the first time with my family, curious about this new and unfamiliar restaurant that previously was only found along the west coast of the country. The restaurant made an immediate impression on me upon approaching the front entrance, where a black bear totem like statue stands, three times my size. When I entered the restaurant, the cozy atmosphere of the place immediately hit me. The restaurant has a cabin-like interior to it, with a wood paneled ceiling, wooden bear-themed pillars, and a mix of a carpet and hardwood flooring. The booths were spacious and the tables were large, and the smell of the food made for a nice aroma.

Despite the crowd, it didn’t take long for me to find a seat. It only took my family and I about five minutes of waiting until we were led to a booth, which was spacious enough to comfortably fit the four of us. We noticed as we sat down that even the menu was bear themed, with dinner meals like Bear Paw Chicken Fried Steak. Our waitress was quick to let us know that each menu had three sections, the meals within each section being different sizes. There was a large meal section, highlighted in yellow, a (relatively) medium sized section, and then a (relatively) smaller sized portion, highlighted in blue at the bottom.

That night, I was feeling hungry. I decided to order Black Bear’s homemade meatloaf, which was one of the bigger meals. The meatloaf came with a side of onion rings, a house salad, a cornbread muffin and seasonal vegetables, all for about $15. Once the food was ordered, the comfortable atmosphere made for a comfortable talking environment. I noticed that the temperature in the place was a bit warmer than usual, unlike other restaurants I’ve been too. I didn’t even need a jacket. I don’t know if that was purposeful or not, but it sure made me rather happy.

It took about fifteen minutes for our soups and salads to come out. Yet, I was not mad or even disappointed. I was talking with my family when, all of a sudden, I spotted our waitress walking towards our table with a giant tray, with three huge plates and a large bowl sitting atop it. At first, when she set down the first salad, I thought that maybe it was just an accident, that maybe that salad had just received a bit of extra lettuce, but to my surprise, I saw that every salad was that size. My brothers bowl of soup was a generous portion as well, these salads and soups could have been a meal of their own. After about ten minutes of eating mixed with chatting, I had about a quarter of my salad remaining. Then the real meal began.

Once again, our waitress approached us with a giant tray. When my plate was put in front of me, I could hardly believe the size. The meatloaf was longer than my two hands put together, and there was a generous pile of mixed vegetables next to them. On a separate plate, a handful of onion rings were tossed, each one larger than most of the onion rings I’ve ever eaten. I could fit my fist through most of them. Even the cornbread muffin was bigger than my closed fist. The food wasn’t bad, either. The meatloaf wasn’t too greasy, and the vegetables were well seasoned. It was, overall, a very good meal.

Quality, though, is just as important as quantity, and I must say, the restaurant did not disappoint. The meatloaf was rather good, if not slightly greasy, it had an almost perfect soft and chewy texture. The onion rings were crisp, not saggy, and separated easily when I bit into them. The pile of mixed vegetables, which seemed to contain carrots, squash, and cucumber among others, were seasoned well. It was a really good meal, and I could barely eat half of it. I ended up with a box, putting enough food in to give two days worth of lunch. Overall, it was an amazing experience.

The Saint Charles location is right next to the Sam’s off of Veterans Memorial Parkway.