Chef & Proprietor Robert Merrifield
Robert Merrifield’s career in hospitality began in the early 1970's and he is happy to say he became a proud "graduate" of the successful Steak & Ale restaurant chain, followed by additional education at Chasens and La Famiglia in BeverlyHills, Valentino in Santa Monica, California., and Peppone in Brentwood, CA. Accepting a position at Southern Hills Country Club in 1977 brought Robert to Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has said all along that Tulsa is the best kept secret in the USA. In 1982, Robert returned to boutique restaurants as co-owner of La Cuisine in LondonSquare, Tulsa.
Polo Grill, founded in 1983, has consistently been recognized for achievements both locally and nationally. It is the only restaurant in Oklahoma to be awarded a DiRoNA-Distinguished Restaurants of North America, which recognizes culinary excellence in the areas of cuisine, service, and ambience. The membership is currently awarded to 798 restaurants in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. AAA Travel Guide has awarded Polo Grill a Four Diamond Award since 2001.
The restaurant has received Wine Spectator awards since 1997, and continues to earn the WS Best Of Award of Excellence, one of 972 restaurants holding this designation worldwide for its 1,478 wine selections, constituting over 25,050 bottles housed in its cellars.
As Proprietor Chef of Polo Grill, Robert has been recognized in the Distinguished Chef Series at Oklahoma State University, named by the James Beard Foundation as "Rising Stars ofAmerican Cuisine", and has been invited to cook at the prestigious Beard House in New York City for four dinners. He was honored at "Out of the House" James Beard Dinners as a guest chef in Chicago and Cleveland, Mississippi, and at the James Beard Foundation's " Chefs & Champagne" honoring Thomas Keller in Williamsburg, Virginia.
In addition, three "Out of the House" James Beard Dinners have been hosted by Chef Robert supporting Polo Grill's Bryan Close Culinary Scholarship.
Additional accolades include being named as a "Celebrated Chef" by the National Pork Producers Council, Featured Chef for the National Turkey Federation, named Food Beat’s "Top50 Foodie Trend Setters", and served as culinary ambassador for the U.S. Meat Export Federation in 1999 & 2000 to Russia and China. He has also been featured on Food Network's "FoodFantasies", contributed articles in The ACF National Culinary Review, Food Arts, and features in the culinary magazines Sante, Nations Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality and others.
After 41 years of serving Tulsans, Chef Robert's commitment to his community's philanthropic needs and palate remains strong. Still standing!