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For a Piece of “Big Sky Spirit”: Ted’s Montana Grill




As part of a way to reach out to new venues via my blog I have been writing to them ahead of time in case they wish to participate when I arrive.

I knew I was going to Ted’s Montana Grill before I was attending Meghan Trainor’s concert at Radio City Music Hall.

I was very warmly received by their behind the scenes customer support as well as the staff when I arrived there. Friendly and informed staff is one the things I liked best about this restaurant. To see what else goes on that list keep on reading.

I was running late for my reservation but was still pleasantly greeted and seated right away. The dining room is a nice size and because it was still early in the evening there were plenty of seats available. There were even some chairs left at the bar.

My instinct this evening was to order a drink first, a grownup drink in fact. But it was very hot out and I didn’t think my migraine brain would appreciate it especially right before I attend a concert that pretty much guaranteed I would be surrounded by lights and high-pitched sounds. So I did the responsible thing and drank ice tea and focused on putting something into my system.

As per my norm, I had checked out the menu prior to my visit but when I was finally there ready to eat I felt like the menu had shrunk. There were not as many choices as I hoped there would be. I went with the garlic shrimp parmesan (over ciabatta bread) appetizer and the Avalon, beef burger that was topped with Gruyere and Maytag Blue Cheese, caramelized onions, roasted garlic aioli, baby arugula served with fries.

I now wish I had ordered what an owner claims is one of his favorite meals; Knife and Fork Chili Cheese- ciabatta bread sandwich topped with pepper jack and cheddar cheeses, bison chili, tomato, jalapeño, red onion, and my personal favorite condiment: sour cream. I wouldn’t mind washing it down with a root beer float made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream. However these were not the options at my New York City locale.

My food arrived fairly quickly and was gone in a matter of minutes. The garlic shrimp were good but not “The Old Time Vincent’s” (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2016/09/for-little-lunch-at-old-time-vincents.html) good. I would have preferred they were cooked a little more.

The burger was of artisan quality but it doesn’t rate as one of my ultimate favorites. It was rather forgettable. The cheeses were thin and melted onto the meat so the bold flavor of these cheeses didn’t stand out. I had ordered it without bacon so I don’t know if that would have changed my opinion. Usually bacon is never cooked properly and makes things worse. Plus it’s a no-no on my migraine brain diet.

After finishing half of the burger and most of the fries I realized I wasn’t so thrilled with my meal. It was average but it sure didn’t look that way on my bill (photos shown here are from Ted’s website). For the money I spent I should have been busting at the seams but I wasn’t. The silver lining was that I attended the show without going into a food coma.

When a meal isn’t to my standards the most common reason is that I ordered wrong. I didn’t get the meal that place was known for so I was disappointed getting something I have had before which may have been better someplace else.

Here I do not think that is the problem. I am really not sure what was. Perhaps I should have just ordered two appetizers and the cocktails I so craved. It would have been relatively the same price.

I was short on time but my waitress did tell me they are known for their Strawberry Shortcake. Now that sounds good, if I go back that’s what I will start with. I wonder how that would pair with a dirty vodka martini.

I discovered the meaning behind the restaurant’s name as soon as I went looking for further information. The “Ted” in the title of this restaurant chain is Ted Turner; yes that Ted Turner of Turner Broadcasting Systems and former husband of Jane Fonda.

His business partner was George McKerrow Jr. (he passed away in 2011), already established in the foodie world for his creation, Longhorn Steakhouses. The first Ted’s Montana Grill was opened in Columbus, Ohio, in January of 2002. There are approximately over forty-five Grills now in various states.

According to Ted himself he “wanted to celebrate an American icon the bison who once thundered across the Great Plains.” Currently Ted is the second largest landowner in America. His pal John Malone, also a former broadcasting tycoon, retains the number one spot.

Ted’s passion for bison is the reason every dish that is served with meat is available in beef or bison versions. The customer gets to choose. I have never had the meat of a bison and something tells me I never will. I am not a huge beefeater so I normally stick to what I am familiar with, the cow.

The “Big Sky Spirit” is referenced in connection with this restaurant time and time again. It was after all the mission statement/business plan that birthed this venture.  So even though I didn’t have any bison I still got to experience the Montana hospitality, which is truly, the big draw of “Ted’s Montana Grill”.

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