Black Bear Diner coming to Great Falls

Black Bear Diner is coming to Marketplace.

The city planning office issued a building permit Wednesday for interior renovations and a sign permit will be required, according to Tom Micuda, deputy planning director.

The city planning office initially said the permit was issued for the former On the Border restaurant since the chain had initially looked at that property, but said Thursday that it is indeed going in the former Moonshine Grill space.

The project will not need hearings or approval from the planning board or design review board, Micuda said.

Great Falls is also listed on the Black Bear Diner website as an upcoming location.

The company confirmed to The Electric that they’re opening in Great Falls and construction is underway.

The chain was founded in 1995 in California and is a “fast-growing, community-oriented, family dining concept that offers great food in a fun, bear-themed atmosphere,” according to the company’s website. “Born from a desire to bring home-style comfort food classics and personal service back to the dining experience, the brand is strategically growing its national footprint.”

Black Bear Diner now has 118 locations in 10 states, including California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas.

On the Border closed in 2015 and Micuda said the permit covers a renovation of the entire 8,720 square foot restaurant.

The city is currently investigating activity at the former Hoagieville property on 10th Avenue South.

Micuda said no permit has been issued for the property but there has been activity at the site and planning staff are looking into it.

The Five Guys franchise in Montana has confirmed twice to The Electric that they aren’t currently planning a Great Falls location and Chipotle said they can’t yet confirm a location in Great Falls.

The Electric has contacted the property owners listed in state records several times since July and has yet to receive a response.

As an update to our Harbor Freight story from last week, the company’s renovation request was for 15,749 square feet, Micuda said.

That leaves space open for other potential development in the former Herberger’s since that store was a total of 81,200 square feet on two levels, according to the property listing.