Restaurants of YesterYear: The Ponderosa and Bonanza Steak House

Monday, July 27, 2020

After the first airline I flew for went out of business, I found myself flying for US Airways Express.  We flew Saab 340 aircraft around the northeastern United States, and one of the overnights we made at the airline was in Plattsburgh, New York.  As lame as a Plattsburgh overnight may sound, it was highly sought after by us pilots.  My brother lives close by, so I always enjoyed getting to see him for a few hours while being paid to be there!

But for everyone else, it was highly sought after because most of the places we stayed in were some run down off-brand motel like the Presque Isle Inn (Presque Isle, Maine) Martha's Vineyard Campground (CAMPGROUND!) or the Beckley Motor Inn (Beckley, WV.)  By the way, Presque Isle is not an island.  It's as far north in Maine as you can go, and you can drive south and still hit Canada.

In Plattsburgh, however, we stayed in a brand new Hampton Inn on the main drag.  There was an Applebees, a few sports bars, some shopping... and directly next door was a Ponderosa buffet.

I mean, who doesn't love a buffet?

The Captain I flew with frequently at the time, Matt, would always say "See you in 5 minutes" during check-in, and that would be code for I'll be at the Ponderosa as soon as I can take off my uniform and run across the parking lot.

So here for the latest installment of "Retro Restaurants," we'll take a deeper dive into The Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse buffets!  You can't tell The Ponderosa Steakhouse story, however, without mentioning it's sister, The Bonanza Steakhouse.  The two restaurants started separately with similar themes and menus but eventually became one and the same.

Netflix Now Has Classic Episodes of "SuperMarket Sweep!"

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Too bad my subscription just expired this month... Supermarket Sweep’ is now on Netflix!  15 episodes of the classic 1990s game show are now available to Netflix subscribers.  Plans are in the works to start filming new episodes when ABC resumes production after the whole Covid thing is over.  The new version will be hosted by SNL star Leslie Jones.

"Supermarket Sweep" originally aired in the '60s but was rebooted in the early '90s.  The reboot for the '90s was beloved by many kids in my generation, watched on the USA Network in syndication, along with similar mall-focused show "Shop Till You Drop." 

I've been meaning to write articles about both game shows, and, with a lack of inspiration lately, I think this may be the boost I need.  Expect something about both shows coming soon!

It may be only 15 episodes on Netflix, but, 2 seasons are available on Amazon Prime.  Also, several free episodes are available on Youtube and other sites with a quick Google search (not that I would EVER recommend you do such a crazy thing as get it for free!)

Garfield Television Specials now on TUBI

Monday, July 6, 2020

I know this blog is about the days of YesterYear, but, I couldn't resist letting you all know about this development in retro television happening right now!  Free streaming service Tubi has announced they will be streaming all 12 of the original Garfield TV Specials!


Prior to the popular Saturday morning animated series Garfield and Friends, Jim Davis brought Garfield into your home through 12 animated specials from 1982 to 1991.  Each special was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program with four of the twelve winning in the category.

The Fourth of July

Saturday, July 4, 2020

In honor of the 4th of July, Mickey and Jason over at The Retro Network Podcast, recently asked their audience what it was that in pop culture (movie, tv, music, etc) makes you feel most nostalgic for Americana.  

As I do every week when they ask for listener feedback, I immediately have a gut reaction and something comes to mind.  I often reflect on it for a few moments before responding.  This time, I knew exactly what my answer would be: 

The night game and fireworks scene from the movie "The Sandlot."  

"The Sandlot" holds a special place in my heart for a special reason from my time as a child, but, that's a story for another time. 

Baseball is as American as apple pie.  Kids playing neighborhood baseball until their parents call them home for the evening, to me, is just as American... if not more so.  Neighbors outdoors instead of inside on their phones or in front of the television.  Good, decent, hardworking people enjoying fellowship with shared food and drinks out in freshly cut grass lawns with sizzling barbeque grills, the smell of charcoal, women chatting and laughing, men sharing a bawdy joke... it all just paints a picture of an older, easier, better time in American history.

This year, with all of the craziness of 2020 in America, now more than ever, I long for a time I didn't even live through.  If we could only go back to a time when it all seemed so simple.  

Enjoy your Fourth of July, everyone.  

May God bless America.

Nick at Nite's TV Land

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

By the mid-90s, Nick at Nite was reaching the height of its popularity, and its library of classic television expanded to the point where some of the older shows beloved by all were being pushed aside to make room for fresher content.  In response, executives at Nick at Nite's parent company Viacom decided to launch a 24-hour channel to air the classic programs that had grown stale on Nick at Nite.

When the new network was announced in 1995, I couldn't have been more excited.  If you've been reading my articles this week that honor the 35th Anniversary of Nick at Nite, you'll know I fell in love with classic television at a young age.  When I read there would be a new channel dedicated to 24 hours of classic TV, I was beyond elated.

Speaking of my week-long tribute to Nick at Nite, I'd like to thank you for reading YesterYear Retro this week.  I know my articles were a bit long and packed full of information, but Nick at Nite of the 90s means so much to me, and I wanted to make sure I paid my respects and did it justice.  I had to comb through hundreds of websites and old message boards to find some of the information that I provided this week, so, hopefully, someone else looking for Nick at Nite and TV Land information only has to come here to find it all.

I often consider that when TV Land shifted towards modern and original programming, it was also the beginning of the end for Nick at Nite, so it's quite fitting that TV Land bembe the subject of my final article for Nick at Nite Week on YRM.