Did you spend a measurable percentage of your childhood enjoying a steak or burger at a Bonanza Steakhouse? If the mood suddenly hit you, how far would you have to drive from Colorado to visit a Bonanza Steakhouse?

Get ready to rack up a few miles and nudge yourself a little closer to exhausting that 100,000 mile warranty on your vehicle. If you live in Colorado, you'll need to change the oil and check the tires, or maybe cough up a few bucks for an airline ticket, if you want to visit a Bonanza.

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Time Travel Back to Colorado of the 1980s

If you lived in Colorado in the 1970s and 1980s, you looked forward to an outing to Bonanza. If you were a teenager during that era, there's a strong chance you worked there.

Bonanza Steakhouse, a part of Homestyle Dining LLC based in Plano, Texas, has been a household name since 1963. Their official website states:

...our mission’s stayed the same: to provide wholesome family dining at a fair price. By maintaining our quality steakhouse and bountiful buffets, we’re still the place when it comes to revisiting or updating your family memories.

History of the Bonanza Chain

The restaurant chain's name came about precisely the way you might imagine. According to Wikipedia, in 1963, Dan Blocker, the actor who portrayed Eric "Hoss" Cartwright on Bonanza, launched the restaurant chain. The first Bonanza opened in Westport, Connecticut. Blocker sold the chain three years later. By 1989 the company had grown to nearly 600 restaurants.

Fast Forward to 2024

Wikipedia reports that as of April 2024, only five Bonanza locations remain open in the United States. Contrary to that, a Facebook post for the Bonanza at 3440 W Division Street in St. Cloud, Minnesota states the restaurant closed permanently in 2022. The email club list, as of April 22, 2024, shows only three addresses for operating Bonanza restaurants:

  • Lebanon, VA
  • New Columbia, PA
  • Chambersburg, PA

For Those In Colorado Who Want to Dine at Bonanza

If your heart is set on feasting on a delicious burger or steak at Bonanza, get ready to break out your mileage reward card and cash in some bonus miles. For those in Colorado, your voyage to Bonanza will make a cattle drive look like a quick trip around the block.

The Bonanza restaurant located closest to the Colorado state line would be.... 2243 Main Street in Lebanon, Virginia, 24266. How far is that? Well, take a look.

Colorado to Bonanza in Labanon Virginia
Google Maps / Canva

Is It Worth the 1,216 Mile Drive?

This must be a good place to go. Looking at their Facebook page, this Bonanza packs a solid 4.2 rating based on 616 reviews. Their Facebook page states, "Welcome to Ponderosa & Bonanza country, where you'll find the spirit of the old west & a place to call home — for great food & great value. Ponderosa & Bonanza Steakhouses serve great steaks, seafood & sides along with our something-for-everyone buffet."

Whether or not any of this warrants the 18-hour drive from Colorado's eastern state line is up to you. While most won't make the 1,216 mile drive (assuming you live in eastern Colorado), many may choose, should they find themselves in the neighborhood, to visit these 70s and 80s icons.

Small Locally-Owned Colorado Restaurants Worth The Drive

Do find yourself hopping in the car and driving 60 or 70 miles just to visit your favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant or cafe. People in Western Colorado do this all the time. They gather the fam-damily and pile in the SUV to drive up to Mesa to visit the Wagon Wheel. Maybe you pile in the car and drive from Grand Junction to Meeker simply to visit Clark's Burgers.

I asked on Facebook, "Name a small, locally-owned restaurant/cafe/bakery in Western Colorado that's worth making the drive for." Here's what you had to say.

Gallery Credit: Waylon Jordan

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Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, recently announced the closure of 33 restaurants. Luckily, none of the Colorado locations are part of this round of closures. Did you know we are down to 12 Outback Steakhouse restaurants in the Centennial State? Keep scrolling to find out where they are and how to get there.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

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Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

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