AMITE--Bear's Grill and Spirits is coming to the old Ponder hotel building in about two to four weeks serving po' boys, along with seafood and salads. The sounds of power saws and pounding nails this week will soon be replaced by sizzling from the kitchen and the buzz of new customers--and those who are already patrons.
Bear's is already in Covington, Mandeville, Slidell and Metairie. The new Amite restaurant is owned/run by Matt Watson and his partner Avery Blount. They operate all of the Bear's locations except Covington.
Bear's will be open six days a week, serving lunch Monday through Saturday and lunch and dinner, Thursday through Saturday.
Their dinner will feature smoked barbecue ribs, pulled pork and chicken featuring their famous Bear's barbecue auce Thursday through Saturday along with their regular menu of po' boys, salad and seafood.
When asked why they chose Amite Melissa Blount said, "My husband and I live in Franklinton, shop in Amite, and are familiar with it. We feel that it is a booming town and we liked the old buildings. So, when scouting for a location for the new restaurant, my husband, Avery Blount and his partner Matt Watson chose Amite and the Ponder Hotel. They loved the historical aspect of the building and the town!"
Avery Blount said, "We don't plan to change anything about the Ponder Hotel, protecting the historical integrity of the building."
He and his wife also said, "We want this to be a comfortable, down home place for people to enjoy coming to with their families."
Bears on the Northshore is located in
Covington: 128 West 21st Ave.,
Mandeville: 1809 N. Causeway Blvd.
Slidell: 550 Gause Blvd.
Metairie: 3206 Metairie Road.
About historic Hotel Ponder, began in 1944
The construction of Hotel Ponder began in 1944 during WWII and took three years to complete. It was completed in 1947 when Barbee Ponder opened it to people getting on/off the trains in Amite.
According to J. Lynn Ponder, one of the Ponder sons, his dad Barbee saw Amite as a booming city for its time and he wanted Amite to have a nice hotel.
Lynn Ponder said that it was important to his dad that the hotel have all the modern conveniences of its time such as access to a bathroom for each room, air conditioning and hot water.
Guests usually ate all their meals in the hotel.
Lynn Ponder said, "My dad wanted to build a really nice hotel for Amite. Plus he wanted it it be a meeting place. So, here at the hotel people ate their lunch, had coffee and just spent the day visiting one another."
Besides eating their meals in the hotel, drinking coffee with friends and relatives during the day, many people came from places like McComb, and all over Tangipahoa Parish to dance on the rooftop of the hotel.