The Connection Between Longhorn Steakhouse And Ted's Montana Grill

Since it first fired up its grills in Atlanta, Georgia in 1981, Longhorn Steakhouse has long been deemed a classic steakhouse outing (via Longhorn Steakhouse). In an interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle, founder George McKerrow envisioned a Texas-style restaurant wanting to "capitalize on the evolving style of people's dining preferences." From concept to now modern-day, the restaurant chain now holds over 500 locations across the United States and four countries, generating just short of $2 billion in the U.S. alone in 2021 (via Statista). And hey, we can't blame its customers for returning. Using a special selection of seasonings for its array of steaks, six-different kinds of chocolate in its famed Chocolate Stampede dessert, decadent French onion soup, and pairings of seafood, we can't get enough either.

While Longhorn Steakhouse officially belongs to Darden's chain of restaurants – including Olive Garden, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V's – there's actually another restaurant chain that it holds close ties to.

The founder's double-dip into another restaurant franchise

Once Longhorn Steakhouse took off and earned its comfortable success, founder George McKerrow partnered with American entrepreneur and media proprietor Ted Turner to launch Ted's Montana Grill in 2002. While Longhorn Steakhouse focused its expertise on its beef steaks within a casual setting, Ted's Montana Grill had a different approach: bison. Centered around sustainability, the two co-founders "imagined a restaurant where friends and family could sit down to an experience founded on the ideals that have made our country great. Where important ingredients like simplicity, honesty, and authenticity would create classic American dishes." (via Ted's Montana Grill).

With its focus on sustainability, McKerrow said he found it "ironic" that the new restaurant chain was serving bison since the species was on the verge of extinction (via The Atlantan). But McKerrow found that by actually serving bison, the bison population actually increased in a "sustainable" way. Today, Ted's Montana Grill serves more bison than any other restaurant in the world, declaring it as a "health food" compared to other meat protein options (via Ted's Montana Grill).