Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc

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Louis
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/20 18:39:24 (permalink)
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I used to eat at all those chains: Bonanza, Ponderosa, Western Sizzlin', etc.  But they all bit the dust, mainly for lack of enough patronage to keep them alive (around the Evansville, IN area anyway).  These days I confine myself to the Longhorn chain.  The ones I've eaten in are a cut above "standard" but not quite "select."  I always ask them to "double the prairie dust" that they put on some cuts.  The "prairie dust" (don't ask me what it is--I don't know--just try it because it really adds to the flavor--is best used on the ribeye; I've tried it with other cuts, but it isn't quite the same; the "prairie dust" and the ribeye make a very tasty marriage.
 
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tfrielin
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/21 15:12:46 (permalink)
californyguy

About 40 years ago , a trip to Bonanza was a special treat for our family- my grandpas eyes would light up and he (and us all) got a kick out of the way he called it Bannanas;good memories of that place!
 

I admit I was a starving college kid with not a lot of dining out experience then, but I have fond memories of a Bonanza steakhouse on Birmingham's Southside in the early '70s--maybe about 6th Ave and 19th St(?).
 
I thought the steak was pretty good--possibly a Ribeye, nicely charred---with a good baked potato.  With more experience today, maybe I would not be such a satisfied customer, but I sure was back then.
 
I take it all Bonanza's are now no more?
 
P.S.  Around the same time frame I also sampled the fare at a Western Sizzler and it was awful compared to Bonanza.
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gostillerz
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/21 23:10:10 (permalink)
I was at Wendy's today, and a 1/2lb bacon burger combo was almost $8. I left and went to Ponderosa. I got a decent sirloin and the buffet which had some pretty good stuff on it for $9 + tip.
 
For what it is, Ponderosa isn't bad.
#33
tkitna
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/22 05:32:59 (permalink)
There's still a Ponderosa in Weirton WV. Kids used to love eating there, but my daughter got sick a few years back and we never went back.
 
I left home once and moved in with a girl who worked at Ponderosa. After eating that stuff for a week, I went back home.
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MetroplexJim
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/24 09:33:00 (permalink)
Goodness, gracious:  Bonanza and Ponderosa have merged and are still in business!  http://bonanzasteakhouses.com/bonanza/ .
 
This reminds me of (fairly recently late) John Kluge who was the "richest man in America" a while before Bill Gates became a household name.  After he sold Metromedia, among his many investments was the Bonanza Steakhouse chain.
 
Ever the crafty businessman he formulated one of the more creative divorce settlements ever when his marriage to a "trophy wife" (a former nude model from Britain) turned sour.
 
As the Laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia are quite a bit "saner" than say, California's, he quickly disabused her lawyers' dreams of "HALF".  He let her have the "house" (a 2,000 acre estate just outside Charlottesville) and lifetime income equivalent to the annual interest on a billion dollars.  I'm sure his kids (and my graduate school alma mater, The University of Virginia) were happy with that settlement!
 
That's quite a bit more than Michael Jordan paid, but everything is relative.  And that reminds me of a favorite Chris Rock observation:  "Shaq is rich.  The guy who signs his paycheck is WEALTHY!!!". 
post edited by MetroplexJim - 2011/11/24 09:35:41
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kman160
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/25 09:30:33 (permalink)
Heading to Mom's yesterday I couldn't believe the only place open along the plastic strip of fast food & mini-marts was Ponderosa.
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senor boogie woogie
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/28 06:18:25 (permalink)
 
Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the show Bonanza opened the first Bonanza restaurant in (oddly ) Connecticut in 1963. Three years later, he sold it to a pair of brothers named Wyley who kept and expanded the operation until 1989. The Ponderosa brand was a seperate entity, started by another group of businessmen in Kokomo Indiana, who expanded their operations into Canada. In the 1990's, both companies were bought by a corporation called Metromedia Restaurants who also owned Benigans and Steak and Ale (Steak and Ale oddly is not good. Love the Henry the Eighth decor, but the food was rubbish). One of the corporation's subsidaries went into Chapter 7 in 2008 sinking about 300 stores.
 
It looks like Metromedia is trying to sell franchises.
 
http://www.ponderosasteakhouses.com/ponderosa/menu_dinein.html
 
Bonanza's/Ponderosa's website is not very good. Not much actual information. Their menu is really quite generic. Steak, hamburgers, some grilled fish. No pictures of the food and no prices. Well, I guess that's OK since it is a basic menu and if you can't afford to eat there, you are too poor anyway. But I like to look at these websites because they are a good way to promote your menu and restaurant. Say what you will about Taco Bell, they have a great, colorful, interesting website.
 
I went to their store locator to see if there were any Bonanza's in Memphis. There is also an option to find  any Bonanza restaurants within 200 miles of Memphis. There were several locations, all located in small communities. Probably in these small towns, Bonanza is one of the better restaurants in town. I played with the map a bit with different locations and the only major city I have seen one in is Cincinnati, Ohio. Sort of a Catch 22. Ponderosa works best in smaller towns, but now there is little work in the smaller towns.
 
We used to go to Ryan's Steakhouse. Now that place was a gut buster. I could not imagine having to work in one of those places, cooking all that damn food for the trough (buffet) and then eating meat on top of that with ice cream with all kinds of sugary sprinkles. Eat there, and you wont take a doo doo for three days.
 
One of the most beautiful steaks I have seen is on this website:
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/3380/eddies-supper-club
 
 
 
 
 
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MetroplexJim
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/28 10:20:06 (permalink)
senor boogie woogie 

In the 1990's, both companies were bought by a corporation called Metromedia Restaurants who also owned Benigans and Steak and Ale (Steak and Ale oddly is not good. Love the Henry the Eighth decor, but the food was rubbish).



Metromedia = John Kluge.  See above.
 
Mrs. Kluge:   
 
The Kluge Estate:  (now owned by Donald Trump!)

post edited by MetroplexJim - 2011/12/20 17:03:35
#38
Heartbreaksoup
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/12/13 15:22:50 (permalink)
I noticed there was a Western Sizzlin still active and, apparently, thriving in Moultrie, down in south Georgia on a road trip through the area yesterday.  I've no interest in such a place, but thought I'd note it since there's some curiosity in this thread.
#39
mjambro
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/12/18 12:27:22 (permalink)
kozel

With respect to cheap steak chains if you are from New York, how can you forget Tad's Steaks?

 
While in Manhattan this past weekend, I came across a Tads on West 47th st, just west of 7th ave.  Didn't stop, but it brought back memories of when I was last there, perhaps 20 years ago. 
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MetroplexJim
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/12/20 17:09:30 (permalink)
Doesn't Tad's and didn't Beefsteak Charley's serve a bit higher grade of beef than Pondo-Bonanz?
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MetroplexJim
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Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/12/20 17:19:44 (permalink)
Re: Patricia Kluge's world-record divorce settlement: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20118282,00.html
 
And after receiving $1.6 million A WEEK for 21 years she is bankrupt??!!??  And working for Donald Trump!  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/business/patricia-kluge-loses-her-fortune-in-the-downturn.html?pagewanted=all
 
There has to be a motion picture made of this.  Maybe Bonanza can do the catering for the set.
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