June 21, 2005

Leaves Another Untended

While walking across Center City Philadelphia yesterday I noticed that a notable, almost notorious, void on South Broad Street, also (or, rather, never) known as the Avenue of the Arts, is soon to be filled.

Based on posters filling several of the recently covered windows on the ground floor of the building located on the northwest corner of Broad and Spruce Streets, the space previously occupied by Avenue B, one of tax-evading and till-tapping restaurateur Neil Stein’s several failures, has been taken by Ted’s Montana Grill.

Ted’s is an Atlanta-based chain of steakhouses, owned by Ted Turner’s Turner Enterprises Inc., and even putting aside the worst aspects of Turner’s galling personality profile, I have to say I’m not sure what we’re in for with this operation.

According to the chain’s web site, Ted’s is “an authentic turn of the century saloon” that offers “comfort food for the 21st century,” a juxtaposition of meaningless marketing lingo from which I can only infer that the “turn of the century” in question is that which took place just a few years ago.

That premise is justified based on other information gleaned from the site, specifically, the reassuring contention that Ted’s is an “eco-friendly restaurant” because “[m]enus are printed using recycled paper, no plastics are used in the restaurant[,] and soft drinks are served in recyclable glass bottles.”

Let’s get real here. This century or that, it matters not: The contention that “no plastics are used in the restaurant” is simply unbelievable. In what, may I ask, to pick merely one nit, are the eateries’ cleaning supplies stored?

And worse, there is no recognition at the grill’s web site of the indisputable fact that a menu so heavily beef-based is, by definition, not friendly to the environment. (Don’t jump all over me for that; I’m a beef eater myself.)

And Ted’s purported authenticity, at least as relates to where the house claims to reach back to the start of the 20th century, ultimately is undermined by this brief aside: “Ted’s Montana Grill is entirely non-smoking.”

Uh, no cowboys here, folks.

By the way, Ted’s has, or soon will have, some four dozen outlets in 17 states, including Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Notably missing from that roll call of states is, inexplicably, Montana, a painfully obvious void just crying out to be filled.


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