Pierce County will get its first Black Bear Diner when a location opens in Lakewood this month.
It will be the fourth Black Bear operated by Danny Banwait, who also oversees diners in Federal Way, Vancouver, Washington and Gresham, Oregon.
If all goes as planned, the Lakewood Black Bear Diner will open on or around June 19.
The chain has locations only in the western United States. Most feature in-restaurant bakeries, menus printed in the form of a newspaper and woodsy decor fit for the restaurant’s black-bear mascot.
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Banwait said his newest location will have fresh-squeezed orange juice and seating for about 180. Like most locations, a single menu will be served throughout the day, which means breakfast for dinner, or anytime really.
The Lakewood diner will be inside the Great American Casino, just off I-5 where state Route 512 intersects with South Tacoma Way. It will operate in the space that formerly housed Cafe Banana. The space has been vacant for several years. Banwait expects hours to be about 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The baker from his Federal Way location is moving to the Lakewood site to take over baking duties there.
“Our fresh pies, bears claws and huge biscuits are made by our baker,” Banwait said.
Lunch focuses on burgers and classic diner sandwiches (think: Reubens and patty melts). Dinner is a what’s what of American diner classics: meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, hot turkey plate, fish and chips, chicken pot pie, pot roast, ribs and steak.
The dessert menu has cream and fruit pies, cobblers, bread pudding, lava cakes, sundaes, shakes and malts.
The South Hill outpost also will take over a long vacant space. Brothers Steve and Chris Orchekowsky will open their Black Bear Diner inside the Sunrise Village spot that formerly held Pizzeria Fondi (2009-2010) and Northwest Vintage (2011-2014).
Chris has operated restaurants for three decades and was the manager who opened the Ivar’s when it made its return to South Hill in 2011.
The South Hill restaurant will have 152 seats, will serve a single menu throughout the day and also have an on-site bakery.
Black Bear Diner
Lakewood: 10115 South Tacoma Way.
South Hill: 10404 156th St. E., Puyallup.