George W. McKerrow is the co-founder and CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill, based in Atlanta. A 40-year veteran of the restaurant business with a history of success in both fine dining and casual restaurants, he has been called a “dinner-house legend” by Nation’s Restaurant News, which credits the restaurateur with “giving birth to an entire casual-dining segment” more than 20 years ago when he founded LongHorn Steakhouse.
George entered the restaurant business as a teenager. After graduating from Ohio State University with a B.S. in political science, he bought the Log Cabin Supper Club in West Virginia. He joined the Victoria’s Station restaurant chain in 1974 and was a Southeast regional manager when he left the company in 1980. He opened the first LongHorn Steakhouse as a neighborhood restaurant in Atlanta in 1981 – at a time when Atlanta had few choices in casual dining. He and his team successfully evolved that single location into RARE Hospitality International, which owns LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille and was sold to Darden Restaurants in 2007. George retired from RARE in 2000.
In 1996, the noted restaurant entrepreneur co-founded We’re Cookin’ Inc. with acclaimed Atlanta chef Gerry Klaskala and businessman Ron San Martin. The restaurant group today has two award-winning, fine dining restaurants in Atlanta: Aria and Canoe. In addition to serving on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association (1997- 2003) and the Culinary Institute of America (1996-2002), George received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Restaurant Association in 2007 for his years of service to Georgia’s restaurant industry. In 2008, he was inducted into The Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame by the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and in 2013 he was named “Restaurateur of the Year” by Share Our Strength with its “Restaurateur of the Year” award, recognizing his commitment to the national No Kid Hungry campaign. He serves as co-chair of the Atlanta Taste of the Nation culinary benefit by Share Our Strength, which has raised more than $9 million in Atlanta alone to help end childhood hunger in America.
Along with his partner, media entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist Ted Turner, George founded Ted’s Montana Grill (www.tedsmontanagrill.com) in January 2002, and serves as chief executive officer of the restaurant company. Based in Atlanta, Ted’s Montana Grill is a classic American grill serving Authentic American Food in an eco friendly environment. The company currently has 46 restaurants in 16 states.