Page 11 - Delta Living Magazine_october2012

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Give me that old time feeding
by Harry Stoll
n Main St. Oakley, the arrow of Village Parkway points to the Black Bear Diner,
with its line of bears stalking across the façade. Parking is plentiful in wide spaces.
The vestibule invites you to sit a spell on hand-hewn furniture, with uprights and
rails of tree branches and thin trunks. The bumpy and knotted wood is very pale and
clear-coated, as in a ski lodge of yore.
Black Bear Diner serves family food that’s hearty and filling. Open the newspaper-
style menu that’s wide but not overbearing and is divided into the day’s three square
meals, all properly prepared from the best ingredients. Memories spin out of the
Every Morning
The sun streams through east-facing
windows as you enjoy sweet cream
and buttermilk pancakes from a recipe
created by the local kitchen staff—Eggs
Benedict, eggs with New York steak,
chicken fried steak, sausage, hickory
smoked ham, thick-cut bacon or eggs
in omelettes or poached—and biscuits
and country gravy.
The orange juice is squeezed right
there, from a wire rack of oranges atop
the juicer. You can watch its two bear-
like arms grab and squeeze the fruit
and get rid of the rinds and seeds and
The portions overlap the platter. If you
don’t want to chow down so much
chow, each meal offers a “Little Less”
special. Breakfast is served all day.
And at Noontime
Burgers, Reubens, Clubs, pulled pork,
French dip, wraps, meat loaf, tuna
salad san, chicken Caesar san, grilled
cheese, a chicken strip basket—and
that benchmark of any diner—a proper
BLT with thick not raw not burned B,
crisp L, and juicy T, on a choice of
lightly toasted bread.
Every Evening
Thick-cut T-bones, rib eyes, NY steaks,
and Mama and Papa Bear love combos
with barbecued pork ribs or deep-fried
shrimp and soup or a super salad,
vegetable of the day and choice of
Linguica baked beans or potatoes
cooked many ways. Or work on a
meat loaf, pot roast, bacon-wrapped
chicken, fried chicken, fish and chips,
breaded deep-fried shrimp, hot turkey
dinner, pecan crusted trout, and try
Mikey’s chicken pot pie and you won’t
care about your cares as the band
plays on.
Ain’t We Got Fun
Hannah Nicole Winery wine is $6 a
glass. Its Le Mélange Rouge sings
with the red meats. The aisles are
wide enough for a Black Bear to stroll
down. The heating and ventilating
duct runs way up there under the
ceiling of rough-finished boards. The
mostly young waiters are competent
with smiling eyes and an unforced
Locally-rooted residents Brenda and
Jimmy D’Amico own the franchise.
Jimmy is there every day; Brenda
works weekends. They obviously
enjoy their hard work. Since its start
in Strawberry Canyon near Mt. Shasta,
Big Bear Diner has grown into a
multi-state operation, but continues
its family atmosphere and serving of
hearty meals. As you leave, the juke
box might be playing, “A white sport
coat and a pink carnation.” Outside,
look north at Ursa Major prowling over
Big Break.
Black Bear Diner
3201 Main St., Oakley
Mon - Fri 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sat - Sun 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Owners Jimmy and Brenda D’ Amico