Black Bear Diner improves in ranking

Black Bear Diner.  (Olympian File Photo)
Black Bear Diner. (Olympian File Photo) The Olympian

OLYMPIA - Black Bear Diner on the city's west side no longer is subject to weekly health inspections after the restaurant scored 100 percent on a recent inspection, a Thurston County Health Department official said Wednesday.

Based on that score, the restaurant is being inspected every month and that level of monitoring will continue to ease as the restaurant makes progress, said Sammy Berg, a senior environmental health specialist with the county’s health department. County restaurants typically are inspected twice a year, he said. “They’ve done an excellent job of taking care of cleanliness and maintenance issues and they are working effectively with a pest control company,” Berg said.

A customer complaint about rats triggered an inspection on Nov. 10 that resulted in a compliance rating of between 70 percent and 80 percent, one of the lowest ratings a county restaurant received in 2009, according to health department data. Last year, the county inspected 1,076 restaurants. Of those, 1,041 restaurants received a compliance rating of 90 percent or higher.

Black Bear Diner at 955 Black Lake Blvd. earned its 100 percent compliance score after the county spent two hours inspecting the restaurant on Jan. 28. Berg said the county health department has not received any new customer complaints about the business.

Tim Augustine, franchise owner of the Olympia location, said Wednesday that he was pleased with the results of the Jan. 28 inspection and remains committed to monitoring the business closely.

“Consistency is the key to demonstrating the same kind of results,” Augustine said.

Past Black Bear Diner customers also were willing to give the restaurant another chance after learning about the 100 percent compliance score. “Wow. They need to get a hold of me,” said Audrey Roberts about the restaurant. “We would give them another shot.”

Roberts manages Capital Place Gracious Retirement Living, a retirement facility on Black Lake Boulevard that’s not far from Black Bear Diner. A busload of seniors leaves the facility weekly to dine at a South Sound restaurant, although Black Bear was not one of their regular destinations, she said. Roberts said she ate there once and had a bad experience. “I couldn’t eat what I got and sent it back,” she said. She also recalled an odor and said the servers needed more help and guidance. Still, after learning about the improved score, Roberts said she’d be willing to load up a bus with 17 or 18 seniors and visit the restaurant.

“It’s a short trip, the bus doesn’t have to go far and we’re helping the area,” she said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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