Business Profile Ponderosa

October 29, 2018

By Pat Maurer

If you are looking for a delicious steak, or a fresh and abundant salad bar, Ponderosa in Clare is a great place for lunch or dinner. And if you are planning a party they can even help you out with the catering – many of Ponderosa’s entrees and buffet items or some of their famous chicken wings can make your event extra special.

“We specialize in steaks and our great buffet,” owner Darren Clark said. Ponderosa is a family restaurant with an emphasis on “family.” Darren and wife Tonya own the business and they have loads of family to help them out including son and restaurant Manager Andrew, and sons Ben and Alex and daughter-in-law Consuelo who all work at the restaurant together.

Come on in for a nice family meal at Ponderosa, owned by the Clark family.

Come on in for a nice family meal at Ponderosa, owned by the Clark family.

Darren and Tonya bought the Clare business, located on the north side of town at the top of the hill, from Dave and Donna Maxwell in 2017.

The Maxwells owned and ran the business (which opened in 1986) since 1998, and renovated the building both inside and out in 2002 and again in 2011. Despite its cozy atmosphere, Ponderosa now has seating to accommodate 240 diners.

Some of the new changes the Clarks have brought to the business over the past year include more buffet options and a buffet layout designed to keep food hotter and fresher, variety changes, enhanced flavor for the steaks, and additional seating for parties. Now they are working on upgrades for the kitchen, with more improvements planned for the future.

Named Best of the Best as a steakhouse and for its salad bar for more than eight years, Ponderosa also offers a great Breakfast Buffet every Saturday and Sunday when they open at 8 a.m. The buffet lasts until 11 a.m., which is their regular opening time Monday through Friday.

Clare’s Ponderosa has been consistently name one of the top performing Ponderosa restaurants in the Midwest, based on their sales.

The Clark family has carried on the Maxwells’ tradition of community support and continue to sponsor Clare high School athletics and the Touchdown Club, Mid Michigan College’s fundraiser Northern Traditions and the Clare High School Band program. This summer they also sponsored one of the Clare Chamber’s Concert in the Park events, providing concert goers with free sandwiches at the event.

The Clarks are a busy family these days, but not just around Clare. Darren said they have just purchased the Bay City Ponderosa Restaurant, named the top Ponderosa Restaurant in Michigan, as well.

Ponderosa in Clare, located at 10306 South Clare Avenue, is open seven days a week. Monday through Friday hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturday they open at 8 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. and Sunday hours are 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

They are now on Facebook and their phone number is 989-386-7017.



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