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Arctic Bear family meets with Stewbo’s about use of name

No change in plans to open a new Arctic Bear; more meetings to come

ALBANY — After meeting with members of Norton Johnston’s family this weekend, Stewbo’s Restaurant Group has not made any formal changes to plans about opening a new Arctic Bear restaurant in northwest Albany.

According to Stewbo’s co-owner Bo Henry, Stewbo’s representatives met with family members of Norton Johnston about using the Arctic Bear name for a new venture planned by the company. Henry said the meeting went well, but nothing had been decided.

Although no date was given, Henry said the two groups plan to meet again later this week, after which Stewbo’s will give a formal statement regarding any future Arctic Bear plans.

The Albany Herald reported last week that the local restaurant group was planning to open a new Arctic Bear restaurant in what was formerly Wagner’s Barbeque on Dawson Road early next year. The Herald report also stated that Stewbo’s had received a blessing from family members of the restaurant’s founders.

After reading the initial Herald story, Pam Johnston, daughter of Arctic Bear co-founder Norton Johnston, contacted the Herald and Stewbo’s to say that some of Norton Johnson’s family members had not blessed the idea and were not even aware of the idea until reading the Herald article.

After speaking with Johnston, The Herald later reported that Stewbo’s representatives had, in fact, spoken to Mike Johnston, son of co-founder Clarence Johnston, and gotten his blessing to use the name. Mike Johnston confirmed that he had told Stewbo’s he was in favor of the idea and had reached out to his cousins to inform them of Stewbo’s plans.