Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc

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doulasc
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2011/11/11 23:05:29 (permalink)

Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc

I remember as a kid we had Ponderosa,Bonanza,York steak house etc. What happened to steakhoses.I remember Ponderosa had a number of restaurants around Central Ohio but most
have closed up and they are few and far between now.We still have a York steak house on the west side of Columbus.We had some Bonanza steakhouse also.
 When I lived in Florida there was Sizzlers everywhere.I see they have scaled back.
What is it with steak houses not a big thing like they were. Is it people are watching their health more and laying off red meat.
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/12 08:59:25 (permalink)
    I believe that their clientele has migrated to the AYCE buffets, killing the market share of these el cheapo steakhouses.
     
    BTW - This thread should be moved to the Chains forum.  The meat at these places was never a Prime Cut.
    #2
    doulasc
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/12 10:13:56 (permalink)
    How would I cmove this thread over to Chains?
    Thanks
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/12 16:17:26 (permalink)
    This echelon of "steakhouses" used USDA Standard and USDA Commercial grades of beef. 
     
    To make the beef edible by humans they had to use so much tenderizer on it that that the beef had an odd grey pallor and seemed "gummy".  And, after eating there I developed the same symptoms that I had from too much MSG:  bloating, flushing, and shortness of breath.  Then later there was even more "flushing"! 
     
    I coined a phrase in honor of their "entrees":  predigested meat
    post edited by MetroplexJim - 2011/11/12 16:19:07
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    Foodbme
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/13 00:55:19 (permalink)
    People get tired of eating poor quality meat regardless of price and move on. Too many other choices came into being and customers abandoned them.
    I think they treated their meat with the same chemicals as Saddam Hussian used for his WMD! 
    post edited by Foodbme - 2011/11/13 00:57:45
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/13 08:48:20 (permalink)
    I loved Ponderosa Bonanza when I was a kid.  It was a highlight of our vacation every year to eat there. I think it was those chemicals that made it so good.
    post edited by JRPfeff - 2011/11/14 08:50:34
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    edwmax
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/13 09:25:08 (permalink)
    I always thought Western Sizzler was good, as long as I ordered my steak rare.
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    mayor al
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/13 16:35:46 (permalink)
    Back in the days (1970's) of eight kids and one teacher income, dinners out would be few and far between. Sizzler or Ponderosa would be at the top of the chart back then. In addition to the steak dinner the kids could graze what was called the salad bar, then the food court , as more varied stuff was added to that. The wings, chicken salad and other fillers kept my 6 boys and 2 girls happy for several years. The local Sizzler (Clarksville,IN) gave our group of 10, a twenty percent discount for the meal (drinks extra), so while it hit the budget, we did get sort of a break, considering the volume of food consummed at each visit.
     
    Jump to the 90's- After divorce, me alone or with a couple of bachelor friends. The only time we stopped at the local Sizzler was on the nights when it was AYCE Steak, or AYCE Beef Ribs for $7.95
     
    More recently- No Sizzlers left here in So Indiana. Our last Ponderosa (Corydon,IN) closed a couple of years ago. There is on on I-65 up the road about 30 miles. Our last visits to a Ponderosa (more than once) found it to be more like Gold Corral. We stopped going because the steaks (more than once) were water-logged and still cold in the middle when ordered medium-rare. They did not thaw the meat at all before grilling it.  So we no longer make any attempt to find a Ponderosa.  
     
    Our choice seems to be one of the Lone Star or Longhorn or any of the Roadhouse sub-identities (Texas, Logan's ,etc). They are all about the same with a pricing structure that look as though it was printed on the same printer for all brands. Dinner for two runs about $30-35 minus any beer that flows. This is a step up from the $10 per person that the low end steak places used to put out.
    #8
    DawnT
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/13 18:54:43 (permalink)
    Since the 80's with two income households as the norm there was a shift in who controls the purse strings.
    Casual daily dining became more common.
    Kids were being indoctrinated during the same time period with healthy eating with materials provided by organizations with other motives. That piece of beef on a plate now had a face. It was now poor Elsie's flesh that somebody murdered and eating it was going to kill you.
    Same crap filtered up to women's magazines and TV shows with the health message for their families. Beef & Pork= Heart attack on a plate.  Remember Oprah VS  Cattlemen?
    Did I mention that women aren't generally red meat eaters in the first place? Yes, I know there are exceptions. Chopped steak or broiled chicken breast are not practical alternatives.
    Theme restaurants exploded about the same time. These place had a trendy vibe, offered menus with a wide variety, and were places to see and be seen. The restaurants knew how to attract their primary demographic. The others would follow along. Everything from the drinks to the decadent deserts (yes lots of chocolate) were tailored to match the trends. They were exciting to go to.
    The steak emporiums were stodgy, machine, rustic,and sports decor. A place for the boys to have a good time and take down pitchers of beer. Can you say excruciatingly boring?
    Many of the steak places did try to change their appeal with AYCE salad bars and menu changes. About the same time the media was declaring open salad bars as playing Russian roulette with your health.
    Traditional steak dinner price points raise to uncomfortable numbers.
     
    Any questions?
     
    #9
    ces1948
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza 2011/11/13 20:34:57 (permalink)
    The first Bonanza I recall was in the late 60's or very early 70's in St. Pete, FL. I think the sirloin dinner was $1.69 with potato. Don't remember if the salad was included but I think it was. On my budget I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    #10
    californyguy
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/13 23:40:33 (permalink)
    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!
      
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/14 08:43:41 (permalink)
    Maybe we ought to rank steakhouses like the USDA does meat:
     
    Prime Plus:  Peter Luger's
    Prime:  The Prime Rib (WDC); Morton's, Bern's (Tampa), Harris' (SFO),  Del Frisco's (DFW)
    Choice: Smith & Wollenshy's, The Palm
    Select:  Ruth's Chris,  Kissimee Steak Co. & Charley's (ORL)
    Standard:  Outback, Lone Star
    Commercial: Texas Roadhouse (demerits for noise)
    Canner:  Wolf's Chili
    Dog Food:  Bonanza, Ponderosa, Sizzler 
    #12
    brisketboy
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/14 08:58:50 (permalink)
    Metroplex, that is about the best ranking I have seen. All the while reading this thread I was hoping someone would do just that. I have eaten at Morton's Ruth's Chris (my boss treated), Outback and Logan's. You are right on the money. Roger on the dog food.
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    mayor al
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/14 11:39:52 (permalink)
    Jim,
      I would add DOE'S Eat Place in the Prime and maybe even the Prime Plus slots. I would probably say Prime, even though it's meat is top-notch. The shanty-style ambience could take a bit away from that Peter Lugar style of 'old wood' and male waiters!
    I would drop Morton's to the Ruth Chris level just for the lack of comfort and the arrogance of the wait-staff on both our visits there. The Steak was good, but not DOES or LUGARS Quality and the employees ruined the night for us both times.
    Add Ryan's  and Gold Corral at the Canner lever
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    ALLGOOD
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/14 13:10:59 (permalink)
    Sizzler? Ponderosa?  Milwaukee seems devoid of both now.  Used to be a Ponderosa on every main drag.  As for Sizzler, one really bad food poisoning incident, and they were out of town.
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 08:30:11 (permalink)
    ALLGOOD

    Sizzler? Ponderosa?  Milwaukee seems devoid of both now.  Used to be a Ponderosa on every main drag.  As for Sizzler, one really bad food poisoning incident, and they were out of town.


    And people still wonder why Five Guys fry their burgers until the juices run clear!
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    brisketboy
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 09:01:40 (permalink)
    A perfectly cooked rare steak shouldn't kill anybody but them establishments have them sitting in vats of who-knows-what until needed. I remember as a younger man of limited means living in San Diego on a sailor's pay and taking my wife out to Sizzler was a real special event. If they were in existance today I would not give them the time of day. Here in Austin the Texas Land and Cattle Company serves a good rib eye for a reasonable price.
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 09:02:20 (permalink)
    mayor al

    Jim,
    I would add DOE'S Eat Place in the Prime and maybe even the Prime Plus slots. I would probably say Prime, even though it's meat is top-notch. The shanty-style ambience could take a bit away from that Peter Lugar style of 'old wood' and male waiters!
    I would drop Morton's to the Ruth Chris level just for the lack of comfort and the arrogance of the wait-staff on both our visits there. The Steak was good, but not DOES or LUGARS Quality and the employees ruined the night for us both times.
    Add Ryan's  and Gold Corral at the Canner lever


    I only meant to give examples, not make an exhaustive list.  And, I limited it to places I have patronized in the U.S. 
     
    From everything I have read and heard, Doe's belongs in the upper echelons of any list.  And it is most certainly on my "bucket list".
     
    Most every major metro area has a local place or two that belong in the Choice or even Prime category.  By reputation and reviews I think of Donovan's in S.D., Bob's in Dallas, Charley Palmer's in Chicago, etc.  And every now and then you can discover a real jewel in unexpected places, like Rick's Chophouse here in McKinney, TX and a place whose name escapes me in Aliquippa, PA. 
     
    The Golden Corral here in McKinney is a huge, ghastly buffet.  It's worth $9.95 just to sit and sip iced tea while watching their patrons scarf down their many "offerings".  On "fried shrimp night" they give a prize to anyone who finds a piece of shrimp meat big enough to cover Washington's face on a quarter!
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 09:10:10 (permalink)
    brisketboy

    A perfectly cooked rare steak shouldn't kill anybody but them establishments have them sitting in vats of who-knows-what until needed. I remember as a younger man of limited means living in San Diego on a sailor's pay and taking my wife out to Sizzler was a real special event. If they were in existance today I would not give them the time of day. Here in Austin the Texas Land and Cattle Company serves a good rib eye for a reasonable price.


    That reminds me of a thought I have often while watching Restaurant Impossible and seeing the vile, unsanitary conditions Chef Irvine uncovers in most of those kitchens:  the people who made the mess are still left in charge after the T.V. lights go.  I wonder how long it will take them to re-create their stinking messes?
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    kozel
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 13:05:37 (permalink)
    With respect to cheap steak chains if you are from New York, how can you forget Tad's Steaks, Beefsteak Charlie's & on Long Island there was Big Barry's?
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    SeamusD
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 13:40:01 (permalink)
    I stopped eating at Pondergrossa over 20 years ago after my brother worked there for a short while. "Utility grade, fit for human consumption".
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    fishtaco
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 15:19:31 (permalink)
    Sizzler, Ponderossa, Golden Corral and all the rest are not there for people who want a really great steak. The exsist for a family to go out and have a meal. Why do people get so uppity about stuff like that. If you don't want to go. then don't eat there. It's not like everyone can afford to go to Ruth Chris, Mortons etc.
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 15:52:46 (permalink)
    kozel

    With respect to cheap steak chains if you are from New York, how can you forget Tad's Steaks, Beefsteak Charlie's & on Long Island there was Big Barry's?


    Beefsteak Charlie was very clever.  As I recall, part of his "deal" was all the beer (or cheap wine) you cared to drink.  As a result, by the time the steak was served I was sufficiently lubricated so as not to notice any quality deficiencies.
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    Tony Bad
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 15:58:22 (permalink)
    This made me think of this skit from Saturday Night Live, a fake ad for Pre-Chewed Charlies. (yes, there is a short ad)
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xas2fz_saturady-night-live-pre-chew-charlie-s-murray-chase_fun 
    #24
    bartl
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 16:35:12 (permalink)
    MetroplexJim Beefsteak Charlie was very clever.  As I recall, part of his "deal" was all the beer (or cheap wine) you cared to drink.  As a result, by the time the steak was served I was sufficiently lubricated so as not to notice any quality deficiencies.

    When I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the early 80's, there was a Beefsteak Charlies near 72nd and Broadway that had a bar with unlimited video games; over 18 only. A video game playing friend of mine and I used to eat dinner every Thursday, when then also had an all you can eat barbecued (grilled) beef ribs deal, too.
     
    Bart
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    ces1948
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/17 17:46:47 (permalink)
    I remember Tad's, first time I ever set foot in NYC. Seems like they were in the middle of the gaudy, dangerous part of Broadway and 42nd. $2 for a steak and probably an adult theater on one side and a big boom box store on the other. Sure it's more gentrified now days.
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/18 10:40:29 (permalink)
    ces1948

    I remember Tad's, first time I ever set foot in NYC. Seems like they were in the middle of the gaudy, dangerous part of Broadway and 42nd. $2 for a steak and probably an adult theater on one side and a big boom box store on the other. Sure it's more gentrified now days.


    You're making me miss Mama Leone's, a few blocks north bet. B'way & 8th.
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    MiamiDon
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/18 12:34:55 (permalink)
    When I was young and poor, Cheapsteak Barlie's was great.  All-you-can-eat shrimp, all-you-can-eat salad bar, all-you-can-eat ribs and all-you-can-drink beer, wine or sangria for $10.99!
     
    This one was on NW 36th Street across from MIA.
    post edited by MiamiDon - 2011/11/18 12:37:38
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/18 16:48:15 (permalink)
    MiamiDon

    When I was young and poor, Cheapsteak Barlie's was great.  All-you-can-eat shrimp, all-you-can-eat salad bar, all-you-can-eat ribs and all-you-can-drink beer, wine or sangria for $10.99!

    This one was on NW 36th Street across from MIA.


    I think we ate there once in the late '70's.  We had a three hour layover on our way to South America.  I can remember gorging myself and sleeping all the way to LaPaz!
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    mjambro
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    Re:Steakhouses-like Ponderosa,Bonaza,Sizzler etc 2011/11/20 11:37:30 (permalink)
    I have fond memories of Tad's - nice inexpensive quick, essentially fast-food - much better than a burger.  Ate there a number of times.  Definitely an odd / memorable ambiance.
     
    As for Beefsteak Charlies, all I recall was their limp soggy shrimp cocktail (obviously poorly thawed frozen shrimp) plus I ruined a nice jacket when I leaned up against what was evidently a freshly painted outside wall.  Never went back.
    #30
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