Ted Turner is Cool !

Normally I don’t like name dropping or talking about non earth shattering events on my blog, but today I transgress. Recently Aidan (business partner) and myself visited the beautiful city of Atlanta to attend a business conference and as always, one of our first priorities was to seek out the best places to eat. On our first night we fell into tourist trap 101 and ended up clip clopping along the streets in a horse and buggy by an enthusiastic guide and a rather smelly nag. As we bounced along the back streets of Fairlie-Poplar in downtown Atlanta our guide pointed to an eatery called Teds, which we had walked passed earlier in the day. “This”, he said proudly is “Teds”. From our silence he obviously assumed we had no idea of the significance nor importance. “This is Ted Turner’s restaurant and his penthouse is right on top” he continued. Now that got our attention and we spent the rest of the ride discussing why Ted would have his penthouse on top of his restaurant. We both came to the conclusion that was pretty cool and scoffed at the millionaires in our home town who often fought to have the biggest and best penthouses in the prime locations.

We rocked up at Ted’s Montana Grill on a Saturday and were warmly welcomed at the door before being led to our booth. Wood panels, pressed ceiling, slowly turning ceiling fans, stools along the bar, it felt like a western saloon. Our waiter was running high on energy as he announced the days specials, but before he could finish, he announced it was our lucky day, Ted was in the house. Now, we are not ones to shy away from an opportunity, so whilst our excited waiter left to get our Montanna cocktails, we discussed ways to meet Ted. Last time we ambushed a celebrity it was whilst a poor actor was sipping hot chocolate in a cafe. Up we rushed with a pathetic story and a camera in hand, virtually leaving him no room for escape. This time would be different, it was Ted!

We agreed we would do the right thing and ask the waiter if it was okay to go up and talk to Ted. The waiter just about died, deer caught in the headlights, blood rushed from his face, horrified at the thought, he began stuttering incoherently before disappearing to ask his manager. We giggled, obviously no one has asked that question before! With in minutes we were chatting with the manger who also looked somewhat horrified at our request. Letting us down gently, she informed us Ted was having lunch but suggested that if Ted walked passed our booth we could say “hi” to him then. We had bets that there was a side entrance. A few minutes later the manager returned to happily announce she had spoken to Ted and he would be glad to meet us.

As we ate our enormous onion rings we made mental notes about what we shouldn’t say to Ted (all the while I was hoping he didn’t rock up as we chomped on the onion rings !) Okay don’t mention Jane, Turner Classic Movies, CNN or AOL for a start. Sadly that was all we knew about Ted.
We were mid way through the “to die for” Bison ribs when Ted made his appearance ( I was hoping there was no sauce on my face!). He came to our booth and shook our hands and began talking about our home town, Perth, Western Australia. How impressed were we, Ted had done his homework! Much to our surprise and somewhat horror Ted mentions Alan Bond. Ted obviously knew him from the America Cup days (which would explain Ted’s foot attire, deck shoes). Before we knew it he was gone and so too our photo opportunity. No one is ever going to believe we met Ted Turner.

As soon as I got back to the Marriott, I Googled Ted. It confirmed everything I thought, Ted Turner was cool ! Ted is the largest private land owner in America, he is the largest breeder of Bison (endangered) in the world, is a staunch environmentalist, was skipper in the America’s cup, is enormously wealthy and was kind enough to come and have a chat with a couple of Aussies.

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