There once was a time when Ponderosa Steakhouse was the go-to spot for buffet-style dining in Michigan. Seriously, back in the 80s when your parents told you it was a Ponderosa Steakhouse night, it was a big deal.

You could go out with the entire family for a traditional dining experience without breaking the bank. I mean, you could get a steak dinner for just a few bucks.

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Ponderosa was founded in 1965 by Dan Lasater in Kokomo, Indiana. Over the years, it grew into a popular national chain with locations across the United States and internationally. At its peak, Ponderosa had hundreds of locations. In fact, by 1989, there were almost 700 Ponderosa locations. With the majority of those locations in the Midwest.

From the 1970s into the 1990s, Ponderosa Steakhouse was considered the biggest steakhouse chain in the country.

Does Ponderosa Steakhouse Still Exist Today?

Ponderosa has faced challenges over the years, including financial difficulties, with its parent company, Metromedia Steakhouses Company, filing for bankruptcy in 2008.

Most of the Ponderosa Steakhouse restaurants are closed today. Nevertheless, according to Wikipedia, there are only 16 Ponderosa locations still in operation.

Of the 16 locations left, five are still open and serving customers in Michigan.

Michigan Ponderosa Steakhouse Locations:

  • Bay City
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Coldwater
  • Clare
  • Ludington

It's not likely that the once-iconic restaurant will be around forever as they're quickly disappearing, so if you get the chance and you've never experienced Ponderosa Steakhouse, definitely stop by and check out one of the five still standing in Michigan.

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