Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saddle Up For Some Sushi

Here's the last of my series (for now, anyway) looking into the past lives of restaurant locations around Lorain This is an easy one to recognize, because the business that was in there closed in the last few years.

An early logo of the restaurant
Of course any Lorain west-sider know that this was the former Ponderosa Steakhouse at 4743 Oberlin Avenue. (That stretch of Oberlin Avenue from Tower to Cooper Foster Park Road is jinxed, I tell ya!)

Raleigh, a regular reader of this blog (and I thank him for that), brought up Ponderosa Steakhouse just the other day in an email to me. He mentioned how good he remembered the food as being; I hated to tell him that the place closed a few years ago!

Anyway, Ponderosa Steakhouse first showed up in the Lorain City Directory in 1971. I remember many great family dinners there, usually for a special occasion. Remember the flames shooting up from the grill, providing a show for those of us in line?

According to this Wiki page, Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse were both based on the popular Bonanza TV series. In fact, Hoss Cartwright (Dan Blocker) himself started the Bonanza chain! Originally the two steakhouses were in competition, but eventually they both came under the same corporate ownership.

Unfortunately, almost all of the northern Ohio Ponderosa Steakhouses closed in 2008 when a check-kiting scam landed their owner behind bars (which you can read about here). The group of restaurants that closed included the one on Oberlin Avenue, and it disappeared in the 2009 City Directory.

The good news is that the Oberlin Avenue location is still serving up some good food, although it might appeal more to Hop Sing, the Cartwright family's cook, than the manly clan of Ben and his sons. Eastern Buffet, featuring American, Chinese, Japanese and grill specialties recently opened. It offers more than 180 items at a great price (Lunch Buffet is $5.99 and Dinner Buffet is $9.99).

My mother, sister and brother-in-law conveniently (for this blog, that is) went there two days ago and enjoyed an excellent meal. As for me, I still prefer BEEF – (It's What's For Dinner - remember?) – but I'm glad the restaurant is there, providing good food at a good price for west-siders, and hope it's successful for many years.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

Although I draw the line at raw fish, a rare steak hits the spot....Ponderosa was a fave back in the day.

Anonymous said...

The Ponderosa in Elyria on Cleveland Street also reopened lately as an Asian Buffet restaurant. I have yet to visit it, however.

John Kovacs