Fenton’s Creamery – not in Oakland, CA

If you’ve ever watched Disney/Pixar’s animated movie Up!, then you’ve undoubtedly noticed the scene where Mr. Fredrickson and Russell are enjoying some ice cream at Fenton’s. That ice cream parlor is actually located in Oakland, CA.

I bet you didn’t know that there are actually two Fenton’s Creamery’s in the Bay Area! If you live or ever venture near the Napa Valley, Vallejo, American Canyon, or Vacaville, then you’re in luck if you want to have some of the best ice cream around.

Located near the outlets at the Nut Tree in Vacaville, Fenton’s offers a fun, family friendly, dining experience in a lively atmosphere. The food is great and there are plenty of options from sandwiches, burgers, and salads. I’ve had their burgers, my kids love the grilled cheese sandwiches. The tuna sandwich is also a good choice as is the crab sandwich which my wife loves.

No matter what food you choose to eat, you have to close out your meal with some sort of an ice cream dessert. Our family has never been disappointed by the banana split with traditional flavors, strawberry and hot fudge toppings, almonds, and whipped cream. The servings are huge that our big family can be totally satisfied with a Jr. Banana Split. My wife and I split a kid sized banana split and it’s more than enough for the two of us.

Vallejo’s Good Day Cafe

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Black Bear Diner in Vallejo

In the northern part of Vallejo close to Discovery Kingdom is shopping area where a lot Vallejoans get their wears and grub on. A few years ago a long time eating establishment by the name of Lyons closed their doors. Lyons died a slow death and unfortunately (or fortunately) saw its demise in early 2011 but out of its remains rose the Black Bear Diner which opened its doors in the summer that same year.

The first time I ever ate at a Black Bear Diner was in Suisun and to me it seemed like a super suburban type of place – almost country – that served good food and had good service. There’s a lot of wood used in the decor. Of course a Black Bear statue or several of them stand guard inside and out of the restaurant. The one in Vallejo even has a log toy train with little bears on them and my kids didn’t hesitate climbing atop and pretending to ride it and acted like they were friends with these cub statues. Adding to the ambiance, the menu looks like a old time newspaper from small town. You get the idea. It’s like you’re out in the country where black bears may join you for dinner.

Newspaper Menu

Newspaper Menu

The decor does make the restaurant feel livelier compared to Lyon’s during its last months. Where Lyons felt a little drab and depressing, Black Bear Diner is bright and cozy. I’ve been to Black Bear Diner four times in the last year and each time it was busy enough that I’ve had to wait. It’s a good sign. A busy restaurant (no matter the Yelp ratings) is a good thing to me. It means that people like the food enough to pay for it. The food is somewhat fresh because of turnover. As more people eat, the more food has to be brought in. And the service is decent enough that it doesn’t turn away customers.

newspaper menu

Black Bear Diner newspaper menu

Prices at Black Bear are right where a restaurant in a bedroom town like Vallejo should be Рaffordable. For a family like mine with 5 kids Р4 with restaurantable appetites Рaffordable is important. A burger, fries, and a shake with extra tin cup for the extra for under $15 bucks is welcome. Steak dinners for under $20 Рpretty good.

Burger, Fries, and a Shake - John Gamboa - Vallejo

Burger, Fries, and a Shake

If you know me, my biggest criteria in deciding whether I’m going to enjoy my visit to a restaurant is the dessert menu. Good thing Black Bear Diner has banana cream pies in the dessert display fridge. Winner! Oh, they have other pies, too, but banana cream is my very favorite.

Another cool thing they have is 24 hour breakfast. So if you’re craving some good ol’ breakfast foods, you’re covered. Eggs, hash browns, sausage – you’re covered.

breakfast Black Bear Diner Vallejo John Gamboa

Eggs, Hash Browns, Sausage

If you’re in the area of Vallejo, American Canyon, and Discovery Kingdom and you want some good affordable food, stop by Vallejo’s Black Bear Diner and bring the family!