Ponderosa Steakhouse was founded in 1965 in Kokomo, Indiana, by Dan Lasater, Norm Wiese and Charles Kleptz. The restaurant chain was named after the television show Bonanza, which featured a turn of the century ranch named the Ponderosa.
The company expanded into Canada, where most of the locations remained until 1984, when the chain returned to the U.S. Canadian based locations were sold and later changed to Red Lobster locations.
Ponderosa Steakhouse, as well as Bonanza Steakhouse, restaurants was purchased in 1997 by Metromedia Restaurant Group.
In 2008, Metromedia Restaurant Group filed for bankruptcy and reemerged in 2009 as Homestyle Dining, LLC. The company redesigned all 17 Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse locations.
The restaurant chain offers a casual dining experience and features typical American cuisine, including steaks, chicken, salads, and sandwiches.