4/24/07 Update: Ted’s is now open. See my review of Ted’s Montana Grill by clicking on the headline below.
Originally Posted 3/22/07 – Earlier today I was driving home through downtown Naperville and paused at the stop sign at the corner of Jefferson and Main Street. For a moment, I could hear what I thought was the distant sound of rolling thunder beginning to drown out the sound of NPR’s “All Things Considered” on my radio. The ominous roar summoned visions of a pack of bison stampeding toward me at a brisk clip from a distance.
Quickly, I glanced over my left shoulder, trying to stay cool, peering down the west side of Jefferson Ave. toward Sharper Image, Lou Malnati’s and Anderson’s Bookstore, but to my relief I could see nothing. Then, in a moment of trepidation I realized the sound seemed to be coming from the right side of my car. In a cautious manner, I slowly began turning my head toward my right shoulder wincing as my line of sight turned down the east side of Jefferson Ave. Suddenly, the sensation of shreeking violins straight out of a horror movie sounded in my head as I detected a rather large bison towering above the recently disclosed new restaurant front which now resides in the old Oswald Pharmacy building. I breathed a quick sigh of relief as I realized the thundering stampede was, in fact, the simple sound of linger thunder from today’s scattered spring-like weather.
Like many of you, I have been anxiously anticipating the construction which had been going on in the old Oswald space, cloaked in secrecy for months. Ted’s Montana Grill appears to be moving toward it’s opening and it’s nice to have another new storefront to add to downtown. For anyone who might be wondering… “who’s Ted”(especially Jimmy Bergeron of Jimmy’s Grill who might want to keep tabs of whether or not the wait service decides to copy the t-shirt concept from Jimmy’s Gril and convert it to “I Know Ted”), the long-awaited answer would be none other than media tycoon and, evidently, acclaimed bison farmer, Ted Turner.
In September 2006, Ted’s Montana Grill opened it’s 50th location in New York City’s Rockefeller Center. With plenty of midwestern health conscious attention paid to it’s bison (aka buffalo) offerings, Ted’s appears to offer a full line of “made fresh to order” steak, chicken, burgers, fried chicken, pulled pork and seafood items along with bar offerings at what may very well turn out to be moderate prices in downtown Naperville.
In my quest to further inform our fellow Napervillians of it’s newest restaurant experience, I went to visit Ted’s home page this evening. Unfortunately, Ted’s webmaster appears to be out on the range tending to the Bison as the site is currently unavailable as of this posting. Nonetheless, to provide some perspective, I visited a number of sites containing stories and reviews of Ted’s from all over the country and here’s a sampling:
“Burgers are made 20 different ways, from bison or beef, with steroid-free, fresh-ground meat. The bison Blue Creek burger topped with blue cheese, bacon and mushrooms is flavorful and juicy. The Vermejo brick-pressed chicken, marinated 24 hours, is similarly tender and tasty. The bison strip loin is more like thick roast beef than the prime rib to which it’s compared. A la carte hand-cut fries aren’t bad, but salt-and-pepper onion rings, lightly battered and greaseless, steal the show. Pass on the weak iceberg lettuce salad with bland dressing. For dessert, opt for a creamy strawberry shake.” – Citysearch (Suzanne Wright)
“The menu and the servers will tell you there’s an on-site butcher at Ted’s. This isn’t that remarkable. Most good restaurants get their meats in large cuts, which they butcher down into entree portions. They’ll say no microwaves are used, and nothing is frozen but the ice cream. Everything is freshly made, fresh cut and fresh baked.” – Philadelphia Weekly (Kirsten Henri)
“If you’re one of those people who likes to be a bit adventurous or who just likes to try things you can’t easily get anywhere, I’d definitely suggest that you try the bison just so you can say you did!” -We8there.com (Teri Theuriet)
“Unpretentious meals dad might grill…The entree menu is drawn along three lines: the casual (19 burgers and 16 sandwiches), the steaks and finally, the comfort food — what your mom might have made if she was a little more hip than June Cleaver. There’s bison meatloaf, beer can chicken and cedar plank salmon, all for around $15.” NaplesNews.com (Jon)
Well there you have it… “Oh give me a home, where Ted’s buffalo roam, where a chain and our originals can stay…. where seldom is heard, the smokers’ discouraging words… and the crowds do not have to wait all through the day”.
Word out on the range has it that Ted’s bison thunder into town on April 23rd. www.tedsmontanagrill.com (the webmaster should be heading back to “the house” shortly)