Bethesda Magazine

Ted Turner Reflects on Land, Bison at Gaithersburg Restaurant Opening

The former media mogul said he fell in love with bison at a young age and later committed to a restaurant concept to help grow herds in the U.S.

Article and photo by Andrew Metcalf

Ted Turner may no longer own the Atlanta Braves, CNN or World Championship Wrestling, but the former media mogul still has his land and his bison.

The 76-year-old billionaire was in Gaithersburg Monday to celebrate the opening of the latest Ted’s Montana Grill. Turner launched the restaurant company in 2002 with LongHorn Steakhouse founder George McKerrow. There are now 46 locations. The Gaithersburg restaurant at Downtown Crown officially opened Monday.

The partnership between the two moguls happened by chance in 2001, Turner says, at a restaurant owned by McKerrow.

“I met George and I was impressed with him and we became friends right off the bat,” Turner said.

At the time, Turner, who is the country’s largest bison rancher, was looking for a market for the bison he was raising and thought that a restaurant showcasing the bison meat could help create that market. McKerrow, who had recently stepped down as chairman of the company that operated LongHorn, The Capital Grille and Bugaboo Creek, thought it was an interesting idea.

“Ted and I decided to build a chain of restaurants to introduce bison to the table and then that would create a demand for more and more bison,” McKerrow said.

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