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Ponderosa: Something for Everyone Even Annoying Friends

By Moose, Jr.

The Ponderosa Buffet has culinary delights in abundance.

Have you ever agreed to lunch with a group of some of your more particular friends, who all have their own individual tastes and preferences, making the choice of a restaurant or even style of food problematic, and nobody can agree on where to go?

Well for the better part of the last 10 years, I often had that problem.

I often go out to lunch and with a varying group of gentlemen who are both my friends and with whom I do some business. We lunch regularly, sometimes every day, Monday through Friday, for weeks on end. And, depending on who is going and what their mood is that day, we sometimes have a hell of a time agreeing on where to dine.

Gordon doesn't like Indian. He disdainfully calls it Spanish food, pretending not to know what kind of food it is. Johnny wants a salad. Jim doesn't like Mexican. Robert is a vegetarian sometimes and Rueben, when he is on the Atkins Diet, only eats meat and raw veggies, so, as he says. Italian is out.

I mention a restaurant. Three like it, one gives a frown.

Reginald doesn't like the price of anywhere we suggest, for, after all, we are men: Each of us pays his own way.

And nobody likes to go to the same place more than two days in a row.

This debates over which restaurant to go to sometimes gets more than a little annoying.

We have literally spent 20 minutes debating with no end in sight.

I finally solved the problem, myself. When the boys are deadlocked and are getting cranky enough to start saying, "OK, I'll go by myself to lunch," I simply say the word "Ponderosa," and that quiets them down.

I am referring, of course, to the Ponderosa Steak House at 8612 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Niagara Falls.

Then, for effect, I wax poetic.

"To me, boys, Ponderosa captures the spirit of the Old West, the flavors and the foods the cowboys used to crave after a long day on the dusty trail."

Since each of the guys secretly thinks of himself, in a greater or lesser degree, as a cowboy, they are now attentive.

Then I describe the astonishing 70-plus item buffet and its mouth watering choice of 15 different entrees that you add to the buffet and, as a matter of fact, I add, "each of you gentlemen songsters can get exactly what you are looking for, including me."

And, invariably, off we go.

I wasn't, of course, lying to my friends either; the buffet includes three different tasty soups daily, a copious and fresh salad bar, delectable chicken wings, surprisingly good tacos, great tasting pizza, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets and 10 different desserts daily.

It's all you can eat for one price, which it so happens is $5.99 for lunch (and for the dinner buffet, it is only $9.)

So Reginald doesn't complain because for him, Ponderosa is even cheaper than McDonald's. Ponderosa has great daily lunch specials starting at $4.99.

Specials include chicken monterey, sirloin tips, cheeseburgers, chopped steak and more.

For my part, I often go to Ponderosa at night for a T-bone or sirloin steak, chicken breasts, salmon, grilled and fried shrimp and Surf &Turf combinations of all of the above.

I've been going a lot more lately. Until the end of July, Ponderosa features a Summer Barbeque (also my favorite!), which includes Ribs, Beef Brisket and BBQ Chicken.

There are also more than 20 different beverage choices and since there are free refills, I go from one to another.

Great steaks, chicken, potatoes, beans. And some things the cowboys didn't always get: fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, soups, salads, seafood, pasta, appetizers and an array of luscious desserts.

And, it must be mentioned, that at the Ponderosa Steakhouse, at least every time I go there, the staff is friendly. You know an unfriendly wait staff spoils the whole experience.

Not here.

I might also add that if you're ever up on Saturday or Sunday before 11 a.m., starting at 8 a.m. and lasting until 11 a.m., Ponderosa offers an All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Spectacular that includes eggs, bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, country fried steak, grilled ham, French toast, luscious warm chocolate chip and regular pancakes all for an incredible low price of $5.99 per person.

On Sundays, a chef comes in and cooks made to order omelets with a choice of more than a dozen ingredients and that too is included in the low $5.99 per person price.

For me, Ponderosa is a kind of a Godsend. It is positively the only restaurant we can all agree on any day. Ponderosa solved the problem of feeding my finicky friends and, who knows, may have even saved our friendship.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Jul 16, 2013