Also known as the Ponder Steakhouse. Ponder—so you won’t have to look on the map—is north of Dallas, west of Denton, and surprisingly easy to get to from my McKinney estate. We’d heard good things about this place, and steak is always welcome on my dinner plate, so off we went.
Somehow I was expecting something a little . . . larger. But never mind. This is real food, people. They hand cut the steaks on the premises. The pies are made from scratch. You have to call ahead to reserve a baked potato, otherwise they won’t bother cooking you one. (We did.)
This place opened on Thanksgiving Day, 1948, the menu hasn’t changed in 50 years, and I doubt the décor has changed much, either. It’s a little bigger than it was, but hasn’t lost its charm. People from around the world—many of them famous types—have dropped by for a meal; their pictures grace the wooden walls.
Walk through that screen door and the scent of beef hits you upside the head. This is the only menu I’ve ever seen that offered an “add a quail” option; we declined this time. The three of us split the Ranchman’s specialty, a 24-ounce Porterhouse steak. They were gracious enough to split it before cooking and grill each one to order. Here’s what it looked like when it arrived:
That started out as one steak. One.
The only way to finish off a meal like that? Pie. Homemade, melt in your mouth, slap yo’ momma good pie. I had strawberry-rhubarb. The other two had chocolate and (I think) coconut…but there was no sharing. Lots of happy, mouth-full moaning, but no sharing.
One fun side-note: when cutting steak, there is a lot of leftover fat. So they take it across a vacant lot next door to their soap factory where it’s rendered and turned into a variety of scented soaps, which are for sale in the restaurant. Now that’s recycling!
Ranchman’s Café in Ponder, Texas. Don’t waste much time pondering a visit, just go. Be sure to call ahead first to reserve that baked potato, it’s worth a phone call. And save room for pie. FYI, Ranchman’s is BYOB.
Despite the drooling tone (sorry, couldn’t help myself) this is not a sponsored post.