Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
In the 70’s and 80’s you would have had a dozen of Ponderosa Steakhouse restaurants to choose from in the Dayton area. Now there is only one left. The closing of Ponderosa on Airway Rd, means the only location left in Dayton, is in Englewood. We had been to the Airway restaurant a few times, and decided to trek up into Englewood, holding on to those food memories from the past.
So here we go with our tongue-in-cheek look at Ponderosa. A nostalgic Food Adventure, without much expectations, other than a walk down memory lane, and some laughs.
HERE’S THE SKINNY:
— Located at 602 Taywood Rd, The next closest Ponderosas are at Tri County Mall in Cincinnati, and South High Street in Columbus. There are 9 Ponderosas within a 500 mile radius of Dayton. They are located in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
— Known as a family friendly steakhouse, this place is a throwback to the 1970’s, but is pretty much a buffet today. Now, before you cross your arms and frown like a spoiled brat, only child over the word buffet, give it a chance. There are even sneeze guards, a taco bar, and a couple of soups. Oh, and the wings on the bar are reminiscent of KFC.
— The menu still remains mostly unchanged from the 70’s and 80’s, even the salad and dessert bar. See this 80’s commercial: click here. or how about this commerical with Centerville resident Jerry Office.
— What you wont see are the metal plates and metal rails in the cafeteria style of yesteryear. Also gone are the bumpy top signature dinner rolls. They have been replaced with soft dinner rolls.
— The food is better than you would think. It is a good deal for the money, but the people watching is priceless. Also, the food per dollar ratio is high. People at this location are polite, we didn’t have to sword fight like Indigo Montoya with tongs at the food troughs. However, the place gets a little crowded and noisy.
There are a couple “MUST EATS” and you need to get the salad bar and dessert bar with your meal. We think this is a forced choice anyways. So, if your calorie counter spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend starts whining, tell them they aren’t exactly in good shape or athletic enough to give you grief.
— RIBEYE STEAK MEAL: The most popular item on the menu is a classic from back in the day. It’s not the Pine Club, but it’s not like the meat has jockey marks on it. We found the steaks to be almost exactly the same as the 70’s and 80’s. Which means you might have to deal with some grisle, valley girl. All in all, not bad.
— CHOPPED STEAK MEAL: Big Ragu’s favorite is this classic adult meal, which is really a “kiddie meal.” Let’s be honest, it is just a burger without the bun. But it’s not bad, especially if you use some A1 or Ponderosa Steak sauce, which is strangely close to Heinz 57 steak sauce. Another tip: You may want to get the Cheeseburger meal which is almost the same thing, except the bun, cheese and bacon option. “The King” tore it up, and liked it.
— SEAFOOD FEAST WITH SALMON: This meal came like a bat outta hell from nowhere and surprised us. The salmon tasted good, and the fried shrimp was respectable. The shrimp skewer has that Ponderosa grill flavor as well. Definitely the dark horse of the menu.
In the mood for a throwback? A nostalgic walk down memory lane, and are you starving? Then consider Ponderosa, the dying breed of buffet steakhouses with only one location hanging on. Hanging on for 50 years that is. They have over 40,000 fans on Facebook, so somebody loves this place.
The restaurant stays busy, from humming seniors with walkers to unsupervised kids, it is never a dull moment. But actually… the food may surprise you a bit.
*** Let’s celebrate Ponderosa’s 50th year in business.. If you comment below on why you love Ponderosa, one lucky winner will win a romantic dinner with the Food Adventures Crew at the Englewood location. Good luck, one winner will be chosen next week at random, one comment only per person, please. See you at the ranch…
Want more Food Adventures from the crew that leaves no plate unturned? Follow the daily antics of Dayton’s favorite foodies Chef House, The King, The Big Ragu and Hungry Jax on Facebook by clicking HERE.
Make sure you check out our photo gallery below, from our trips to the magical world of Ponderosa Steakhouse.