Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department

News Release

Oct. 11, 2010



Contact:  Lindsay Vidrine

Phone:   405-230-8414

Email:   Lindsay@TravelOK.com


 Tulsa Restaurant Achieves ECO Certification

The Polo Grill combines sustainability with world-class fare

Tulsa’s Utica Square just got greener with the addition of the Polo Grill to ranks of conservation. The restaurant recently earned its gold certification from Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma (ECO), the state’s premiere sustainable tourism certification program.

Polo Grill began its work with the ECO program in 2009 as one of seven pilot projects. Current sustainable efforts include a glass recycling program, and the restaurant also plans to refurbish their diesel engines to run on waste vegetable oil from the restaurant. In the future, the restaurant intends to explore uses for alternative energy sources while raising awareness about environmental issues.

“The Polo Grill shows diners that a fine dining experience can also be respectful of the environment,” said Hardy Watkins, executive director, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “We hope this restaurant will inspire others to eat locally and sustainably.”

According to Michael Funk, Chef de Cuisine at the Polo Grill, conservation and sustainability are important aspects of being a good global citizen.

“We have to be able to help educate others on how they can make a difference whether it be an environmental impact or through healthy sustainable living practices,” Funk said. “Our resources on this planet are finite and we want to know that we did our part to ensure the health of future generations.”

The Polo Grill opened its doors in 1983 and has received critical acclaim for its food and wine choices. Its honors include a Four Diamond rating from the AAA Travel Guide and 11 consecutive years as a Best Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator. The restaurant is also the only Oklahoma establishment to be named a Distinguished Restaurant of North America. According to Funk, the dining experience for the average 60,000 annual visitors to the restaurant will continue to have high standards.

“Most of these practices have been going on behind the scenes,” Funk said. “Sustainability and being a community-based organization has been one of our main focuses.”

Since 2009, the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department and Department of Environmental Quality’s ECO Certification program has promoted, developed and encouraged sustainable tourism throughout the state. ECO Certification requires applicants to meet set criteria and be reviewed by a national certification board. A certification level of silver, gold or platinum can be awarded, based on the level of sustainable practices the applicant chooses to implement.  

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) is working to advance the exceptional quality of life in Oklahoma by preserving, maintaining, and promoting our natural assets and cultural richness. The department is the steward of the state park system and also promotes Oklahoma as a travel destination through many award-winning programs. To learn more about Oklahoma Tourism visit www.TravelOK.com or follow us at www.Facebook.com/TravelOK or www.Twitter.com/OklahomaTourism.


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