A meal at Ted’s Montana Grill is more than a culinary experience; it’s an educational journey into sustainability and the American bison. Founded by media mogul Ted Turner and restauranteur George McKerrow, Jr., Ted’s Montana Grill stars the bison, which is leaner than beef, boasting a high iron content, fewer calories and lower cholesterol.

Although most entrées come in either certified bison or Angus beef, it would be a shame not to try at least a bison slider. Even the soups and the pot roast feature bison, which is slightly sweeter and lighter than beef.

Ted’s also promotes sustainability for the planet, which is the reason your drinking straw is made of polymer-coated paper. Ask for server Maria – one of the few with a “100%” pin from McKerrow – and she will enthusiastically tell you all about the environmental considerations at Ted’s, along with bison as a sustainable source of red meat.

The historic schoolhouse restoration effort is 65 percent of the way to its $200,000 goal. 

In addition to forging relationships with local farmers, the Coconut Point location is the only one in the chain of 44 restaurants with its own organic herb and vegetable garden. Guests who come for weekday Happy Hour on the patio will not only find a waterfront view, but a walkway lined with greenery, where Chef Juan Rangel can harvest mint, tomatoes and basil. 

Inside, the decor is reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century Old West saloon, with a full mosaic-tiled floor, mahogany paneling, pendant lighting and a pressed tin ceiling. Servers give change in $1 coins and $2 bills.

Interior of the Historical Society’s headquarters at the Hanson House in Estero Park.

Proprietor Jacob Haskell says Ted’s goes beyond just saying it’s “fresh.” Everything is made from scratch, down to the fresh-squeezed lemonade, orange juice and grapefruit juice. All steaks are hand cut, and bison is ground fresh twice a day. Even the fish is shipped from the coast or flown in fresh.

“The only thing frozen here is the Haagen-Dazs ice cream,” Haskell says – which tastes great, by the way, atop Ted’s amazing Apple Pecan Crisp!