History & Awards
Mother Bear’s Pizza was started in March 1973 by Ray McConn and Bruce Storm as they felt it was needed as an adjunct to their first business, Bear’s Place, to service the pizza portion of Bear’s Place menu. While providing Bear’s Place with pizza, Mother Bear’s began gaining a bit of reputation itself. In 1979, it garnered its first award, “Best Pizza in Bloomington” by the Indiana Daily Student. In 1982, People Magazine selected Mother Bear’s as “one of America’s top nine pizzas” and business literally doubled overnight.
As the century turned, so did Mother Bear’s. A new partner, Mark Hajduk, was brought into the ownership mix, an upgrade of facilities, new marketing ideas highlighted by the introduction of the popular Munchie Madness package deal, and an insistence on quality propelled Mother Bear’s to become the foremost pizza restaurant in Bloomington. The students and staff of IU have voted Mother Bear’s best pizza in Bloomington for ten straight years. It has twice earned Final Four status at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas and has been named “Best Pizza in Indiana” by USA Today.
In November 2016 Mother Bear’s fulfilled a long-term goal by opening a west-side location in Whitehall Plaza in Bloomington. Repurposing the former Smokey Bones location to Mother Bear’s standards, the west-side store has succeeded beyond all expectations. With the advent of the outdoor patio, Mother Bear’s West will soon be challenging the Campus store for market leadership.
All of the awards and success could not be possible without the contributions of the countless employees, past and present, and you, our pizza-loving customer. We look forward to serving you and hope you stay tuned to hear more exciting news about the future of Mother Bear’s Pizza.