Asked to rate restaurants 1-5, 5 being best, usually the most I can muster is a 4.5. Not today, Ted’s Montana Grill gets a solid 5.0+. The media mogul Ted Turner, creator of the first “superstations” like TBS, and CNN, later to merge with Time Warner, Turner is the 2nd largest landowner in the US, a devout conservation and proud papa of 50,000 bison on his Montana lands.
A relatively new chain, Turner partnered with restaurateur George McKerrow Jr to open the first location in Columbus, Ohio, in 2002. The basis for the concept was to monetize the effort to save Bison in America. The theme/attitude of the chain is to show the type of hospitality one can expect from a Montana establishment.
It succeeds on every level. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, heavily reliant on dark woods. Tables and booths are both comfortable. An ornate bar runs nearly the length of one side of the eatery. A complimentary bowl of half-sours are placed on the table when you are seated. Honestly, I am a pickle nut and these rank among the best I have had anywhere in the world. I required a refill.
While the menu is heavily Bison-centric, you’re afforded the choice of beef or bison on nearly every meat entree. All of the other proteins make an appearance on the “Authentic American Dining” menu, as well as a good number of hearty salads and gluten-free options.
I went for the “Montana Breakfast Burger” with a Bison patty, topped with grilled ham, a fried egg, and American cheese. The meat was cooked precisely to my request, the thick slice of ham was quality (I am a ham snob) and the egg was sunnyside. All place between a bakery soft bun which was substantial to cradle any toppings you cared to add on your own.
One thing I really liked? Burgers come with a choice of one side, there are over a dozen choices, and at Ted’s, a side is a side. They are all of equal value, meaning no “up charge” if you opt for rings or a sweet potato. More places should have that option.
If you’ve never had Bison (some call if Buffalo), it is leaner and more flavorful than beef, grass fed and pretty much free range. These huge mammals used to dominate all of the continental United States and were nearly wiped out by hunters and diseases from cows as herds of the latter grew in the US.
About 600,000 exist in the US today, including a portion that are wild and roam the West freely.
So I loved the burger, and opted for rings, which were also superb.
Our server, Rich, was affable, courteous, and informative. He checked back often enough to be a good server, but not so often as to be intrusive. Beverages were refilled without having to ask.
Finally, I wanted to comment tha both the restaurant, and washrooms, were antiseptically spotless. That’s somewhat important to me.
Good job, Mr. Turner.
Teds Montana Grill Review