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October 25, 2012

Area native has plans for ex-Ponderosa site

ONEONTA — Steak cooked over a wood-burning grill, served at tables not far from a fireplace and ordered from a menu featuring New York meats cut on the premises.

These images are among plans presented by Chris Sloan as he sat Tuesday in the former Ponderosa Steakhouse on Chestnut Street in Oneonta and talked about opening a restaurant.

Sloan said his mother, Margaret Wolff of Fly Creek, has purchased the property for an undisclosed amount.

The closing was Friday, a key was in his hand Saturday and renovations started Monday, he said, and he estimated the project cost at $800,000, including the purchase price of the property. The goal is to open in the spring.

“We’re going to transform this place, and it’s going to be beautiful,’’ Sloan said. “This is quite a venture. It’s exciting but scary at the same time.”

Sloan said he wrestled with the idea of using his nickname in the restaurant name. But he decided name recognition would help and settled on “Sloanie’s New York Grill.’’

The Ponderosa Steakhouse on Chestnut Street closed in November after a decline in business, and the property was advertised for sale. The chain restaurant had been open locally since the 1970s.

The former Ponderosa property is assessed at $375,000, Oneonta Assessor Mario Arevalo said.

Occupancy at the Ponderosa was 225, Sloan said, and he estimated occupancy in the renovated restaurant and bar will be about 180, depending on inspections. Sloan said he would lease the building until he can take ownership after a few years of successful operations.

Plans call for having a retail counter inside the restaurant where customers may order cuts of meat and varieties of sausage, Sloan said. Outside, hand-hewn beams will be used on the restaurant façade, he said, and wood and local blue stone will be used to create a “rustic style with a touch of class” inside.

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