January 22, 2020
Updated March 30 at 4:37 p.m.

West Branch Ponderosa abruptly closes

Corporate office says closure is temporary


WEST BRANCH — A longtime staple of West Branch is no more, as the Ponderosa Steakhouse closed abruptly after business Friday, March 29.

“To our valued customers: We are sad to report that we have permanently closed this location,” a sign on the door read Saturday morning. “Thank you for your patronage through the years.”

The sign by the road still advertised the weekend breakfast buffet.

The Herald reached out to Ponderosa’s corporate owner, FAT Brands, for comment. According to Taylor Ruotsala of Konnect Agency, which handles FAT Brands’ public relations, the closing is not permanent.

“The closures of the Ponderosa Steakhouses throughout Michigan are temporary and all locations will reopen to the public as soon as matters with the local owners and landlord are resolved,” Ruotsala writes in her email. “We value our employees and local customers and look forward to reopening our doros and serving our delicious American cuisine.”

Social media posts suggested the closure was sudden.

“Can’t believe I will never open the doors of Ponderosa,” one employee posted on social media. “Just so unexpected.”

The restaurant’s Facebook page was no longer active Saturday.

Media reports around the state suggested other Ponderosa Steakhouses had suffered the same fate. WTVB in Coldwater reported Saturday morning that the Coldwater location had also closed after business Friday. A sign on the door there read exactly the same as the West Branch location.

According to the company’s corporate website, there are 62 restaurant locations in the US. It is unknown whether locations in other states have also been closed.

The story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.


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