Ranchman’s Cafe

Small Town Café | Steak
One of the best

In a sleepy encampment by the train tracks at the northern fringe of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, The Ponder Steakhouse (actually named Ranchman’s Café) has been a meat-eaters’ destination since 1948. Not much has changed over the years. Indoor bathrooms have been added; but the steaks are still hand-cut, and the ambiance is Lone Star to the core.

“Welcome to Texas!” chimed one well-fed good ol’ boy at us as he pushed his way out the front door, looking like he just sold his prize bull for a million dollars. Handing his denuded T-bone to the hound that had faithfully gazed in at him through the storefront window as he dined, he strolled along the dusty Ponder main street enjoying a smoke. The dog settled in on the raised sidewalk to savor his bone.

Ponder serves cowboy-style steaks – platter-sized, sizzled on a hot griddle until they develop a wickedly tasty crust. Although tender, they are not the silver butterknife cuts of expense-account dining rooms; they are steaks of substantial density that require a sharp knife and reward a good chew with tides of flavor. French fries come on the side, but if you call before 3pm, they’ll put a one-pound baked potato in the oven and have it ready when you arrive for supper.

“Y’all did good!” exclaimed our waitress after we polished off a few pounds of beef, potatoes, and a couple of slices of buttermilk pie that granny had made just that morning.

Note that gluten-free options are available.

What to Eat
Ranchman’s Cafe, Double Cheeseburger
Double Cheeseburger
An excellent cheeseburger, well dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and mustard.
Ranchman’s Cafe, Chocolate Pie
Chocolate Pie
Airy meringue, deep fudgy chocolate flavor: this is a great slice of pie.
Ranchman’s Cafe, Chicken Fried Steak Fingers
Chicken Fried Steak Fingers
Chicken-fried steak fingers are served with thick cream gravy.
Directions and Hours
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Opening Bell Coffee

    Dallas, Texas

    A laid-back, artistic atmosphere makes Opening Bell a great place in Dallas to have coffee drinks, breakfast or lunch, and to listen to live music at night.

  • Emporium Pies

    Dallas, Texas

    Pies are the only food on the menu at Dallas’s Emporium Pies, which offers some of the most creative and delicious flavors anywhere.

  • Paris Coffee Shop

    Fort Worth, Texas

    A Fort Worth legend for hearty breakfast and lunch as well as blue-ribbon pies, Paris Coffee Shop is a taste of old-time Texas.

  • Pecan Lodge

    Dallas, Texas

    In the heart of Dallas’ Deep Ellum, Pecan Lodge uses a unique combination of Texas and North Carolina styles to smoke brisket.

  • Tolbert’s Restaurant

    Grapevine, Texas

    Tolbert’s menu is broad, including steaks, seafood and bar food; but true-Texas chili con carne, aka bowl of red, remains true to its origins.

  • Kincaid’s

    Fort Worth, Texas

    Kincaid’s is a former grocery store in Fort Worth known for an awesome half-pound hamburger. It’s a colorful, only-in-Texas restaurant experience.