TULSA — Michael Fusco has been feeding people in Oklahoma for 22 years. Fusco has been acknowledged as the best chef in Tulsa nearly every one of those years.
Fusco grew up in New Jersey, where he developed a love of food at a very young age.
“I loved the applause and reward as a young boy when I cooked with my mom for my family,” he said.
Fusco graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I. He received his associates in culinary arts degree and a bachelor’s in food service management. Right after graduating, he moved to Oklahoma and began cooking at Bodean’s Seafood in Tulsa.
Eventually, Fusco opened his own restaurant, Flavors, a mainstay in Tulsa for 12 years. Seeing new opportunities, he took a chance and opened a new restaurant on the banks of the Arkansas River in south Tulsa.
Fusco opened Riverside Grill two years ago. He describes it as a non-pretentious, fine dining, white-table-cloth restaurant. It focuses on fresh, seasonal and local foods.
Riverside Grill is a chef’s steakhouse. Fusco explained that the menu offers a variety of dishes from top quality, certified angus beef trimmed in-house, to the freshest seafood every day.
Because of the focus on fresh and seasonal foods, the menu at Riverside Grill is capable of changing any given day. The restaurant does not have a set time for this, but the menu is flexible around the natural order of food — when it is available and at its peak freshness.
During the peak of Alaskan king salmon season, Fusco will travel with his family to Alaska to catch and ship salmon overnight to the restaurant. He serves fish and wild game from hunting and fishing trips.
Riverside Grill is a true example of gourmet food.
“Gourmet does not mean unique or odd,” he said. “Gourmet is serving food at its best.”
He said that to serve food at his best, it much be as fresh as can be, and cooked simply in a way that compliments the ingredient. He said it is important to not complicate the food.
The restaurant also caters to special diets. Riverside Grill offers a variety of gluten-free items denoted in the menu. In addition, he has had low-carb options in the past and says the restaurant will work with any dish to ensure all dietary habits are able to be catered to.
Riverside Grill, 9912 Riverside Parkway, offers a wide range of dishes from Seared Georges Bank Scallops with feta and roasted red bell pepper ravioli to Grilled Certified Angus Bone-In Cowboy Ribeye.
Dishes range from $17 to $40. Servers explain specials every night and are knowledgeable about everything in the menu.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday
5 to 10 p.m. Saturday
4 to 9 p.m. Sunday