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Grand Island's Riverstone Grill expanding barbecue lineup

Riverstone Grill, an upscale Grand Island restaurant, is refocusing its menu on barbecue and more blue-collar American fare.

Chef-owner Chaz Bulera said it was time for a course correction at his restaurant, which he and his wife Kristina bought in 2012. Located at 971 East River Road, it won television recognition in 2010 for its massive Bone in the Stone steak, with Bulera as chef.

In the following years, "we kind of lost of way a little bit," with outside work and catering gigs that took some of his attention away from the restaurant, Bulera said. "We've backed away from all that."

A return to basics includes expanding the restaurant's barbecue menu as Riverstone becomes more of a barbecue-steakhouse hybrid.  That doesn’t mean the dishes will stick to the basics, though.

"We're looking at doing different barbecue things," he said. That means that in addition to hickory-smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken, there's some creative spins on traditional barbecue presentations.

Instead of "a big old pile of pulled pork, figuring out some way to make it fun," said Bulera. "I always say, 'When you're drunk, will it taste good?' "

Baby back ribs are offered not only barbecued ($26/rack) but chicken fried ($13). A Burning River Garbage Plate tops house-cut fries with chopped barbecued brisket or pulled pork, jalapenos, beef chili, and beer cheese, finished with a ranch dressing drizzle ($12).

There's also massive beef ribs, about a pound each, selling for $17-$19. Custom sausages include a beef on weck sausage ($12), served with "Buffalo White Hot Barbecue Sauce," powered with horseradish, and two sides.

The Bone in the Stone will remain on the menu. But fancier preparations, like roulades, will be scarce. "More of the big floppy sandwich with grease dripping down your chin," he said. "That's more of where we are today."

Riverstone Grill offers a fine walk on the wild side, starting with bacon

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