Ted’s Montana Grill

Written by on February 14, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(tedsmontanagrill.com) – Ballston neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: When we moved in to our current apartment, Chris and I happened by Ted’s on one of our many walks through the neighborhood.

Type of cuisine: Founded by media entrepreneur and environmentalist Ted Turner and acclaimed restaurateur George McKerrow Jr, Ted’s Montana Grill is a classic American Grill featuring fresh, made-from-scratch comfort food within an authentic turn-of-the-century Montana grill atmosphere. The first Ted’s Montana Grill opened in January 2002 in Columbus, Ohio, and has grown to 44 restaurants in 16 states. The menu, under the direction of Corporate Chef, Chris Raucci, features made-from-scratch dishes including Certified Angus Beef, National Bison Association-certified bison, chicken and seafood. The time-honored American favorites include steaks, meatloaf, crab cakes, pecan-crusted trout, cedar plank salmon, burgers, chicken grills and vegetable sides. Fresh-cut fries, hand-dipped salt and pepper onion rings, delicious soups and an array of salads and desserts round out the menu. Average entrée menu items range from $6 to $20.”

Ambiance: “True to our heritage, you’ll find we never take shortcuts when making Ted’s Montana Grill authentic. From the warmth and charm of our overall atmosphere to the design-faithful craftsman-style architecture of the early 20th century. This was a time when comfort was key and only natural materials were used. And so it is today at Ted’s Montana Grill. Welcome to a great state of mind, right in your own backyard. Not modern. Not antique. Classic. And it all comes together to create an environment that makes customers feel relaxed. From the mahogany paneling, intricately tiled floors, distressed tin ceilings, pendant lighting, ceiling fans, metal crown moldings to the unpolished brass. Elements like our food, that are timeless.” The Ted’s Montana Grill perfectly depicts the experience. Old world saloon meets classy neighborhood grill. On their take-away menu, it shares: “There was a time when saloons served authentic food and drink to everyone from cowboys to land barons and genuine hospitality was a virtue. When good times and great meals would draw people together in one spirit. You’ll find that spirit alive and well at Ted’s Montana Grill.

What I ordered: When we decided that we were both in the mood for burgers, and Chris suggested trying this place around the corner out, I immediately pulled up Ted’s Montana Grill’s online menu to find…delicious. To start, we enjoyed the Bison Nachos ($5 happy hour price from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.): tortilla chips topped with Karen’s “Flying D” bison chili, fresh grated Pepper Jack, shaved green onions, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, and sour cream.

Bison Nachos

I opted for a Shirley Temple ($2.79), while Chris enjoyed an IBC root beer ($2.99) before our appetizer arrived. Our main entrees took a little longer to narrow down. We knew we wanted burgers, and several struck me while perusing the menu. I asked our server, an older, plump lady, and she said that every day Ted’s chooses a burger of the day, and on this day, it happened to be the Avalon.


Being on my list of narrowed down choices, I opted for the Avalon ($16 for bison meat; $13 if I were to choose beef) with melted Gruyere and a hint of Bleu cheese, crumbled bacon and sweet caramelized onions, a roasted garlic aioli and baby arugula on a toasted onion bun. For the side, I was (easily) swayed into ordering half-half of the fries and onion rings. Chris selected the Canyon Creek ($16 for bison) with cheddar cheese, smoky bacon, fresh jalapenos, blackberry jam and a fried egg, over-easy. Same side, with the special onion ring horseradish dipping sauce.  

Burger at Ted's

On a return visit, Wednesday, 25 April 2012We were walking by, headed to a completely different and new restaurant with our new friend, Fancisca, and I was suddenly reminded of the Bison Nachos. Needless to say, our attention was not the only thing diverted. An order of Bison Nachos ($8), two waters and a bottle of IBC Root Beer ($2.99 each), we were ready to place our dinner orders. Chris selected the 9-ounce Cedar Plank Salmon ($18.50), with garlic mashed potatoes, country-style green beans, one biscuit and fresh horseradish sauce. Francisca decided to try a bison burger, it being her first visit to Ted’s and selected the Cheese Burger ($14) with Monteray Jack cheese on a bison patty, served with fries and toppings (lettuce, tomato, shredded cabbage, pickles) on the side. I was feeling drawn to the salads, and took Cid’s advice (our same server from last time), who had the same for lunch: Balsamic Bleu Steak ($14), with grilled certified Angus® beef sirloin, mixed greens, cucumber, crumbled Bleu cheese, smoky bacon, sliced vine-ripened tomatoes and a sweet balsamic glaze, topped with crispy fried onion straws.

On a return visit, Wednesday, 13 June 2012: Chris was in the mood for Bison Nachos, so we invited our friend Mitko to join us for dinner (in celebration of my mom’s birthday!). Chris and I also shared the Cadillac Burger with beef ($12), prepared medium-well, with a side of fries and a bottle of sweet IBC Root Beer ($2.99). Our dining companion selected the Swiss & Mushroom Burger with bison ($15) and a Blackberry Lemonade ($2.99).

What I loved: The Bison Nachos, topped with the bison chili, was good enough to lick the plate clean. The flavors and memory lasted the entire meal, making everything else pale in comparison. The uber-sweet Shirley Temple washed down my second favorite: Chris’s burger, the Canyon Creek, the blackberry jam strangely delicious with the greasy, breakfast-y burger. The fries and the onion rings followed by way of favorites in the meal. The nachos, though, well worth every cent, and calling for a return trip to Ted’s…any moment.

Why I loved it: Among the things I loved, I absolutely love the Ted’s commitment to the environment and eco-friendly nature: “Ted’s Montana Grill has a deep commitment to the environment and our goal is to be 99% plastic-free.  That’s why we re-introduced the paper straw, (not produced in the United States since 1970) and use it in all of our restaurants.  Menus are printed on 100% recycled paper.  Our to-go cups are made of cornstarch that bio-degrades in landfills in just 50 days.  Soft drinks are served in recyclable glass bottles.  Our take-away food is placed in Bio-Plus Earth Containers, which are high-quality, bio-degradable containers that are microwavable.  These containers have been endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association.  In addition to maintaining a 99% plastic-free restaurant, we also try to conserve energy and water.  In Tallahassee, Fla., we worked with the city’s Energy Services division and One World Sustainable Inc. to install 66 solar panels on the top of our restaurant.  And we are always looking for innovative ways to reduce our energy consumption like wind generators as well as low voltage lighting in all of our restaurants.  Many of the restaurants feature water-efficient toilets in order to help conserve water.  And all of our restaurants are non-smoking. Will all of this change the world? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s the right thing to do.

Cost: Average to high ($11-$28 per dinner entree)

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