By Mark Constance
WEST BRANCH – A new restaurant is coming to West Branch.
Lucky’s Steak House of Imlay City announced it is planning to open a new restaurant in West Branch Township at the site of the old Ponderosa Steakhouse, located at 2882 Cook Road.
West Branch Township Clerk Jeremy Hickmott said there has been a lot of talk regarding the former site.
“After I spoke with the property owner this morning about township processes, I asked if we could release they were officially coming and they said it is ok to let the public know about the plans for the site,” Hickmott said.
The company has owned the building for about two years. The footprint of the building will stay the same, although the inside will be largely redesigned.
A banquet room will now be located at the south end of the building. Where the Ponderosa buffets used to be is where the bar and fireplace will be located. The front seating area layout will be similar to what was there.
The exterior of the building will also be revitalized along with new signage. Owner Lucky Vasilakis said they will begin work when the weather breaks.
The facility is expected to hold about 150 people not including the banquet space.
A Greek immigrant, Vasilakis came to the United States in 1967. In 1976 he opened his first restaurant, Seros. In 1998 he decided to try something new and opened the original Lucky’s Steakhouse in Davion in 1998.
Although the interior of the building is still under construction, Vasilakis expects it to be ready to a walk through in early April.
“It will look like our Gaylord store,” he said. “It will have a horseshoe bar. Fireplace in the middle with a wine and liquor display. It will be nice.”
Vasilakis said he located his newest restaurant in West Branch for a multitude of reasons.
“Everyone stops there on their way to Gaylord,” he said. “There are a lot of people because it’s right off I-75. I like to stay near the expressways. And there are no other steak houses in the area.”
Lucky’s is planning to begin construction in West Branch once it completes a new location in Petoskey. Lucky’s restaurants are currently found in Gaylord, Okemos, Midland, Imlay City, Fenton, Davison, Clio and Bay City.
Menu options at existing Lucky’s includes steak, seafood, chicken and pasta dishes.
Hickmott said the restaurant will add a new type of dining for the residents of West Branch and the surrounding communities.
“It’s a different type of food and atmosphere that will be a great addition to the area,” he said. “In listening to the people around town I expect them to be welcomed to the community.