The Santa Ana location of the Black Bear Diner is in the former Carrow’s Restaurant space on Bristol Street. With 88 locations in the western united States, there are just 3 in Orange County so far. This diner is quite a feast for the eyes – especially if you like a cozy woodsy atmosphere. It is quite charming with a friendly wait staff. Black Bear Diner offers a wide variety of food items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If the good old American food that you are craving is not on this menu, I don’t know where you would find it.

My brother had the California Burger with potato salad that was so obviously home made that it would practically make you drool. The burger was fully loaded, and the bun was grilled to perfection. I chose the vegetable soup and half albacore tuna salad on sourdough from the “Little Less” menu. The soup was a meal in itself – full of vegetables and no potato filler. The fish was really chunks of albacore and not overly drenched in mayo.

The overall experience was pleasant and relaxing. Nobody rushed us but the waitress was at hand if we needed something.

One other thing – the menu is printed inside the newspaper from 1955 with actual news from the era. Interesting reading while waiting for our meal – which, by the way, was not a very long wait. Check out the juke box and guess what era music is being played.