Ted's Montana Grill is once again investing in the city where the chain started. The latest Ted's, which opened today, takes over 5,000 square feet of space at 4169 Worth Ave. in Easton Gateway, on the eastern edge of the sprawling retail center. It's been 14 years since George McKerrow Jr. and Ted Turner, the outspoken founder of CNN and bison rancher, started the chain in the Arena District.
Ted's Montana Grill is once again investing in the city where the chain started.
The latest Ted's, which opened today, takes over 5,000 square feet of space at 4169 Worth Ave. in Easton Gateway, on the eastern edge of the sprawling retail center.
It's been 14 years since George McKerrow Jr. and Ted Turner, the outspoken founder of CNN and bison rancher, started the chain in the Arena District.
"We came to Columbus because we wanted to test a Midwest market, and Columbus is a wonderful, universal city that represents a great deal of values of the Midwest and was a viable restaurant market to enter. And I was familiar with it from living in Ohio," said McKerrow, an Ohio State University graduate who once called Cleveland home. Turner is a Cincinnati native.
Ted's was on the ground floor of what has become popular in the restaurant world: farm-to-table ingredients used in house-made fare. The only frozen item on the menu is ice cream.
What made Ted's different was the focus on bison, culled from Turner's 15 ranches that dot the Western landscape. In fact, the lean red meat accounts for 34 percent of sales at Ted's.
Ted's started out growing at a stampede pace, opening six stores the first year and growing to 57 locations in 19 states over 72 months.
"It was overly ambitious, but Ted and I were overly ambitious people," McKerrow said.
The correction came in 2010, when the Atlanta-based company closed a dozen stores. A Polaris location closed in 2006 but two local stores remained - one on Sawmill Road and the other in the Arena District.
After regrouping, Ted's is charging ahead, with plans to add two to four restaurants a year in the foreseeable future. The Easton restaurant will be its 45th location in 16 states.
The latest restaurant follows a familiar rustic design: a mosaic-tiled floor, prominently featured wood fixtures, a mix of booths and tables, open kitchen, marble counters and a large bison head mounted in the main dining room.
It's a slightly larger store, by about 800 square feet, than the prototypical Ted's, and the footprint is different because of the flatiron floor plan.
But the menu remains devoted to gourmet bison and ground-beef burgers (most costing in the $15 range), homemade soups, fresh salads and an array of other popular dishes, including bison short ribs ($20), crab cakes ($27) and Springer Mountain roasted chicken ($16).
"I think we've established our brand here in Columbus," McKerrow said. "I think the people of Columbus have spoken."
Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 614-337-1457.................
Brian Reed makes his on-screen debut this week.
The owner of Mojo Tago will appear in an episode of "Food Factory: Night Shift," at 1 p.m. Thursday, on the FYI Network.
The show features Reed and his employees preparing for the Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition in August.
The filming was done in two segments: overnight while Reed prepped for the contest and at the competition itself, he said.
Mojo, which competed against 40 other food trucks, won with its Korean barbecue, which uses ingredients sourced from a local farm. The tacos took first place, and Reed won a cash prize of $10,000.
"I think it's cool to show the world what goes on behind the scene of a food truck," Reed said. " And I think they did that pretty well."
Mojo has two food trucks, one owned by former chef Chris Hughes, which will be back in full swing in a month or so. Reed also has a restaurant by the same name at 24 Grace Dr. in Powell.................
Dahlia Bar and Lounge has joined the Vine Street party circuit.
The lounge takes over 3,800 square feet of space most recently occupied by the Bucks & Pucks, 147 Vine St., near the Arena District.
Josh Mynes, a partner in the operation, along with BBR and Sway Columbus, said the refurbished space offers hardwood floors, cherry tables, a covered patio and a garage door that separates the indoor and outdoor patios.
The menu offers traditional and more contemporary choices, such as pizza, pork belly tacos, agave lime mussels and lamb lollipops. Most items are $10 to $15.
Dahlia is open dinner and late-night hours five days a week, closed Sunday and Monday.................
Cucinova, the locally owned gourmet pizzeria, is expected to open today at 7721 Sawmill Rd.
The store takes over 2,600 square feet of space in a shopping center at the northwest corner of Sawmill and Hard roads.
It is third central Ohio location for Cucinova, which is part of the Sbarro brand.