"Something for every taste."
That's what I say about the Ponderosa Steakhouse at 8612 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Niagara Falls. After 40 years of going, Ponderosa never lets me down.
It's all you can eat for one low price, which it so happens is $5.99 for lunch and $8.99 for dinner buffet with the coupon in this publication. (See pg 3; Without the coupon lunch buffet is $7.49 and dinner is $10.99 - so use our coupon!)
Upon stepping inside, a sense of nostalgia and light-hearted energy fills the air as steam rises from the warm, velvety mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables on the buffet. I start by grabbing both to whet my appetite.
My second trip to the buffet is when I create a salad with chilled, crisp lettuce topped with French dressing, onions, radish, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and sprinkled with a cherry tomatoes - - above the dressing - making a dazzling color popping statement.
After salad, I go back (going back to the buffet is half the fun) for beef tacos drizzled with creamy nacho cheese sauce. And chicken wings to satisfy my craving to gnaw.
I don't go for the buffet alone. I add signature items such as seasoned, flame-grilled steaks with shrimp, a thick, juicy, half-pound cheeseburger, chicken breasts, salmon, and grilled and fried shrimp - which you can add to the buffet for as little as $2 more.
It includes a buttery baked potato with a dollop of sour cream.
Meanwhile, the warm, attentive staff never lets a glass go empty; there are free refills of 20 different beverages. I usually order diet cola since it has zero calories.
The wait staff is friendly. But what's not to be friendly about? People are coming in, eating as much as they like of whatever they like. Even vegetarians have plenty of options. Guests pay the tab before the meal, so there's no wait time after dining. It's as inexpensive as fast food, but plenteous and good.
After my entree, I return to the 70-plus item buffet. It's time for soup. Italian Wedding soup is my favorite. With a slice of pizza. Their crust has a honey, malt flavor, and the sauce seems like a combination of vine ripened tomatoes, sweetened reduction of stout with the right amount of salt and mozzarella, hot and soft.
After pizza and soup, I like to make a trip especially for creamy macaroni and cheese, classic mashed potatoes, baked beans - rich, tangy, sweet and smoky - and chicken nuggets which I like to eat plain, popping them in my mouth like one does with candy.
My next trip I call my variety walk. The same homegrown recipes haven't changed over the years - but I like different combinations; yesterday I had the creamy coleslaw, soft, fluffy rolls, broccoli and cheese - to keep up my fiber intake - and spaghetti and meatballs.
Trip seven is dessert. Homemade carrot cake, oven-baked chocolate chip cookies, scrumptious apple pie, and the ultimate ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce is standard. I usually add one or more of the 10 or more deserts they have each day. And typically pie-ala mode.
When desert is done, is there anything more pleasant than a cup of freshly brewed, full-bodied aromatic coffee? At Ponderosa the refills are free. You can switch from soda to coffee at no extra charge. I take my coffee black because I'm watching my figure.
I suppose the Ponderosa loses money on me, because I eat a little more than some other people, so I am hoping some of you people who don't eat as much - but still like good, home style food that is inexpensive with a friendly atmosphere will consider going there.
You should try it.