I grew up at a fairly interesting time in Western New York.

I'm in my early 30's, which means my childhood straddled the '90s and early 2000s. I also started watching the Buffalo Bills at the very start of their 17-year playoff drought. Literally, the first season I watched every single game was 2000, which was the season after the Music City Miracle.

The Sabres, on the other hand, were great in those black and red years...so it wasn't all bad for Buffalo sports.

I also have memories of the old restaurants in Western New York from the late '90s and early 2000s. Places like Custard's Last Stand, Kahunaville, Country Kitchen, Four Seasons, Perkins, etc.

I grew up in north Amherst, which means many days spent driving up and down Niagara Falls Blvd. and Maple Rd.

Do you remember Ponderosa on Maple Road?

It was next to Hooters, which was a pretty fascinating combo of restaurants there. The Ponderosa was where McGregor's would later occupy and near the old Fuddruckers, which went away, came back, and went away again. This is also the same parking lot the Friendly's occupied for a while.

Ponderosa Steakhouse is still around but their last location in Niagara Falls went away a while back. They were very popular with families because of their buffet.

I remember going there with my family many times and having to slowly gather items in the school lunch-like assembly line. The food selection was very much like Golden Corral or Old Country Buffet. American style food and an array of desserts.

The décor was very '80s and '90s, with brown and green two key colors for the seating, walls and sidings.

Ponderosa closed on Maple Road by the mid-2000s, but I still remember going to the location in Niagara Falls during the aftermath of the October Surprise Storm, when our house still had no power and many migrated for a week to Lockport and Niagara Falls.

You are not forgotten, Ponderosa.

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