Good service, good times, good friends and great mountain views.
That is what owners Hoop and Lisa Bramoff hope to offer customers at the StrawBeary Bear Restaurant and Lounge in Strawberry.
The couple recently renovated and reopened the Bear after it sat empty for the last 18 months.
Lisa, who also serves as head chef, worked at the restaurant in her 20s as a waitress.
Built in 1974, the Bear was originally known as Foxfire, but by the 1980s, the name was changed to the Black Bear, then the Mogollon Steak House and finally the Watering Hole.
“Because most people remembered the restaurant as the Old Black Bear, the Bear name was picked,” Lisa explains.
Lisa cooked at the Black Bear for Cindy Wendell and later for Jim Price. Throughout her career, she has also cooked at several other restaurants including the Sportsman Chalet in Strawberry.
Opening her own restaurant was always on the back burner for Lisa. When the opportunity to open the Bear arrived, Lisa felt confident she could incorporate her skills as chef and cook into a new role as owner.
The restaurant serves traditional steakhouse fare, including ribs, burgers, seafood and even chateaubriand.
Lisa’s grandfather was a butcher, and taught her about a good cut of meat.
The restaurant is broken into two areas. In the dining room, diners can watch the cooks prepare dishes with an open kitchen. The atmosphere is rustic with wood paneling and bear decorations. In the lounge, the atmosphere is more casual. Customers can play darts, shoot pool or try their hand at the 1975 bowling machine. There is also a large bar at one end of the lounge and a smoking deck.
“If you enjoy good food, good service and a good atmosphere on the edge of the forest with mountain views, then the Bear is for you,” Lisa said.