Black Bear Diner has arrived in Simi Valley, bringing with it a menu of homestyle comfort food and an exorbitant amount of bear decor. The diner opened May 28 in Mountain Gate Plaza at 2022 First St. in Simi Valley, in a two-tenant building it shares with a Smashburger franchise. This is Black Bear Diner’s first location in Ventura County. Visitors will be greeted by three wooden bear statues (carved by chainsaw artist Ray Schulz) in the parking lot and another at the front door, and will encounter further ursine-related decorations once inside, including bear faces wood-burned into seat backs and black plush teddy bears for sale in the gift shop. Around 95 staff were hired to work at the 222-seat restaurant, according to the Ventura County Star. This opening fills a vacancy that had existed for nearly four years. The building was last occupied by Seahorse Buffet, which closed in fall 2015. Black Bear Diner of Simi Valley is owned and operated by Elite Diners LLC, the chain’s largest franchisee, which owns 12 locations including the one in Tarzana. Elite began construction on its 13th Black Bear Diner location in May in the San Bernardino County city of Colton. In total, the Black Bear Diner chain has 133 locations nationwide, 66 of which are in California. It is headquartered in Redding. The diner offers breakfast and lunch all day and dinner after 4 p.m. Prices range from $10 to $20.