Snyder—If you ever find yourself scouring through county seat of Scurry County, head to the west of town for a restaurant in front of a rest stop; because you might just need a room for a nap after eating here. The Texas Bucket List Bite of the Week goes to Ponderosa Restaurant & Motel, a small business known for its savory, sizable portions.
“You get plenty of food,” said customer, Bobby Hernandez. “You leave full, not hungry.”
“It’s not big,” Luis Conteras, Ponderosa’s owner, commented on the portion size. “It’s what you pay for.”
Luis loves making meals memorable and making sure his customers get their money’s worth. Born in Mexico and raised in California, he did not follow his fellow west coasters to the capital city, but opted for the big country instead. Luis was tired of California dreaming and wanted to raise his daughter somewhere simpler.
“L.A. is very hard for kids to grow up in the school; between ten to fifteen years old, sixteen years old—it’s the hardest part of their lives,” he said. “You don’t want that kind of life for your kids.”
Fate was on his side in 2001 when he picked up a classified ad.
“We saw this ad in the thrifty nickel… and we couldn’t believe it, the price,” explained Luis. “A hundred and twenty thousand dollars; twenty-five rooms with one point seventy-five acres. It was unreal.”
He packed up his family and purchased the hotel that needed a heck of a lot of work.
On the topic of moving to Texas, Luis claimed, “[It] was the best thing that happened to me.”
Once he renovated his hotel, he built a restaurant. Luis and his wife Lucia run this little joint with love, but Lucia knows to leave the cooking to Luis.
“That’s what I fight with my wife [about]. Kitchen is mine, not hers,” he said.
Maybe that’s because his meals are beyond big. Take breakfast for example!
“It’s just only three pancakes, hash browns, bacon, sausage, ham and five eggs with whatever way you want it,” Luis said nonchalantly.
One big smothered burrito caught our eye thanks to its unique combination of carne.
“I call it a mix between barbacoa and birria, ” said Luis. “Birria is one of the most traditional dishes in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. It’s the most common.”
With an unreal amount of meat on the grill, Luis started warming up a massive tortilla made especially for his restaurant. Refried beans, rice, the meat and cheese were tossed on the tortilla. A special sauce consisting of salsa, spices, queso and enchilada sauce along with peppers and onions tops off the inside. Luis then flipped the behemoth burrito and covered it with more sauce!
“That’s eleven ninety-nine,” he said.
A surprisingly small price for a burrito the size of a newborn baby.
“It also comes with a birth certificate. In case, you want it?” Luis joked.
“It’s amazing man, it’s real good,” said customer, Miguel Juarez. “There’s not a lot of places that… fill you up like this, you know?”
“Like I said, you get your money’s worth,” confirmed Bobby Hernandez.
If you are looking for a literal hole in the wall with hefty portions and amazing taste, head to Snyder, Texas to visit the Ponderosa Restaurant & Motel, a perfect stop on The Texas Bucket List.