I don't think I have ever had a bad experience at an Applebee's. It is always a safe bet for a good meal in a strange town.
The decor in this chain of restaurants is about the same from town to town; double entry door, foyer/receiving area, central bar with stools surrounded by groups of tables which are surrounded by booths on a raised floor area. It is a lot of wood and formica; typical American.
The walls are covered with memorabilia that follows some theme which I have never figured out. But it is interesting to investigate the various artifacts and pictures and momentos while you wait for your meal to be served.
The staff are always pleasant and a hostess gets you a table (usually after a five minute wait for one to be cleared) and a waiter or waitress then introduces themselves and takes you beverage and appetizer order. After a few minutes your beverages arrive and the waitress takes your main order. Food is usually served within 15 minutes although I have waited upto 30 minutes when they are especially busy or short-staffed (like during a typical Watertown snow storm).
I like their chicken and salad dishes such as the Chinese Chicken Salad plate and my wife prefers the spare ribs. Add in a coffee, beer or large coke and a piece of thier popular Apple Betty ala Mode and that delicious meal will cost you about $15 per person (including tax and tip). And it is well worth the price.
If you are on a vacation in a place you have never been before and you see an Applebee's, be assured that you will enjoy your meal there.
Ponderosa restaurant is one of those steak houses that have menus-by-the-numbers. For example a No.1 might be a seafood platter and a No.2 a cheeseburger with fries and a No.3 might be grilled chicken with mashed potatoes. So you pick the numbers you want and the give little number tags and you pay. You take the number tags to your table and a waiteress grabs them and takes your order for beverages. In about 5 minutes, your beverages arrive along with plates for the salad bar. While you go get your salad, the waiteress goes to get your main meal and usually she delivers it to your table at about the same time you finish the salad.
The place is mostly booths with several group tables in the center. The decor is dark hardwood with wagon wheels and rope finishings. The staff all dress in modern western with a lot of red and white checks.
Their top sirloin and ribeye meals are pretty good and sometimes they make pretty good chicken fingers. They provide smaller meals for seniors and kids otherwise you have way too much food to eat at one sitting. We normally have doggybags of leftovers to take out.
A meal per person runs about $12 including beverage (but excluding tax and tip). It is a good portion of food for the price and you will leave feeling full.
We had lunch here. It wasn't busy at all on a weekend morning. We were casually dressed and felt comfortable here. The lunch menu wasn't very large but we just wanted something light and coffee and dessert. So we had soup and salads. (don't recall the soup, so it must have been something normal like vegetable or chicken noodle.) The salads were small bowls with some buns and choice of dressings. The dessert was a good size piece of cherry cheesecake that we split.
There was nothing bad about the restaurant and there was nothing outstanding either.
The waitress was efficient and got the food to us promptly. The silver and glassware were clean. The price was reasonable.