The new Ted’s Montana Grill at the burgeoning Waverly development near I-485 and Providence Road is not, you should know, the first business that Ted Turner has owned in Charlotte bearing his name.
“I once owned a TV station here. The NBC station. Got $20 million for it,” said the 78-year-old billionaire, who indeed claimed the network’s Charlotte affiliate – then WRET, for his initials: Robert Edward Turner – as part of his portfolio from 1970-1980. “That was the money that I needed to start CNN. Carried me for about six months till I got another loan.”
The difference this time around is that Turner isn’t using Charlotte as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. There were already 46 Ted’s Montana Grills in 17 states – No. 47 officially opened at 4 p.m. Wednesday – and if this one finds success in south Charlotte’s restaurant landscape, we’ll likely see him double or triple down by bringing additional locations to other parts of the city down the road, he says.
Several of those 46 locations, by the way, are in the Southeast (including one at Durham’s Renaissance Center, one in Tennessee, two in Virginia, and a whopping 13 in Georgia), so it’s quite possible you’re familiar with the concept.
If not? It can be summed up in one word: Bison.
“When I was a little boy, I read the books of how they were killed, from 30 million (in the 1500s) down to 200 (in the federal herd at Yellowstone National Park), almost extinct,” said Turner on Tuesday night, fresh off a private jet from Atlanta and a fight with south Charlotte traffic, as he sat on his new restaurant’s patio next to Ted’s Montana Grill co-founder George McKerrow. “And I said, If I ever grow up and make some money, I’m gonna see if I can bring the bison back.”
Click here for the full article by The Charlotte Observer.