Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse

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Ponderosa Steakhouses LLC
Bonanza Steakhouses LLC
Wholly owned subsidiary
Industry Casual dining, Buffet
Founded 1965
Headquarters Plano, Texas
Number of locations
Products Steak, salad, seafood
Parent Homestyle Dining LLC[1]
Website PonderosaSteakhouses.com
A Ponderosa Steakhouse in West Branch, Michigan.

Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse are a chain of buffet/steakhouse restaurants that are a part of Homestyle Dining LLC based in Plano, Texas.

Unlike other chains with two names, such as Checkers and Rally's, which uses only one of the names in a given region, restaurants in a given region could be named either Bonanza or Ponderosa. This is because Bonanza and Ponderosa were separate companies, which were later merged under the Metromedia Restaurant Group.

The names of the restaurants were derived from the classic TV series Bonanza, which was set at a place called Ponderosa Ranch.


A Bonanza steakhouse in Marquette, Michigan. This location has since closed.

In 1963, Dan Blocker, who played Eric "Hoss" Cartwright on Bonanza,[2] started the Bonanza Steakhouse chain. The first Bonanza opened in Westport, Connecticut. Sam Wyly and his brother Charles Wyly bought the small Bonanza restaurant chain three years later. The company grew to approximately 600 restaurants by 1989,[3] when the Wylys sold it.

In 1965, Dan Lasater, Norm Wiese and Charles Kleptz founded Ponderosa in Kokomo, Indiana, moving the headquarters to Dayton, Ohio in 1971.[4]

Ponderosa began operations to Canada by at least 1971,[5] amid little apparent demand in the US, and remained in Canada until 1984, when the post-recession US appeared to present a more viable market for expansion. After closing all Canadian Ponderosa restaurant locations, the company returned to generating US restaurant franchises in 1985, reversing a previous freeze on new US franchises in the move to Canada. At that time, 36 Canadian Ponderosa locations were acquired by General Mills Restaurant Group which converted them to Red Lobster restaurants.[6] In the meantime, Bonanza maintained a presence in Canada.

In 1988, Ponderosa was sold to Metromedia.[4]

In 1997, Ponderosa and Bonanza united under the Metromedia Family Steakhouses organization to form a single restaurant concept marketed under either the Ponderosa or Bonanza brand. MFS was a forerunner company of the former Metromedia entertainment conglomerate founded by John Kluge.

The chain's parent company, Metromedia Steakhouses Company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008, although it planned to reorganize around franchise operations and a profitable core of company-operated restaurants.[7] [8] It emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 under the name "Homestyle Dining LLC".[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ amanda (July 20, 2012). "Management Moves: Homestyle Dining LLC, Sage Restaurant Group". Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Dan Blocker". Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  3. ^ "The 400 Richest Americans: #354, Samuel Wyly", Forbes magazine, September 21, 2006
  4. ^ a b Stephens, Caleb. "Local Ponderosa restaurants fall from six to two", "Dayton Business Journal", April 18, 2003.
  5. ^ "Eating out". The Globe and Mail (ProQuest). Toronto ON. 21 August 1971. p. A18. 
  6. ^ Deanne Brandon (November 1, 1985). "General Mills Restaurants - 11.01.85 - SI Vault". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  7. ^ SOURCE: Metromedia Steakhouses Company, L.P.
  8. ^ "Parent of Ponderosa, Bonanza steakhouses files for bankruptcy " "Dallasnews.com", October 22, 2008
  9. ^ Plano-based Metromedia Steakhouses Company emerges from Chapter 11, renamed Homestyle Dining LLC "Pegasus News", October 16, 2009

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