Profile: Michael Busse

Jul 25, 2017 624

BY: Dawne Belloise

Michael Busse is sitting in a patio chair with a cocktail, cozied down by the river as it churns past his new River Bar, and he’s got a big grin on his face. “I’m gonna put these mosquitos on the menu, they’re so big,” he laughs and threatens the incessant buzzers. “It’s my happy place here. I wish I had time to enjoy it.” Michael owns, operates and is the chef at his restaurant, Garlic Mike’s, right on the Gunnison River in what was once one of Western State College’s favorite watering holes called The Ramble Inn (“…and stumble out,” as the joke went).

An East-Coast Italian living in the Gunnison Valley for 23 years now, he hasn’t lost his New Jersey accent or culture. Inevitably, because he’s Italian, one of the first things Michael is concerned with when he meets with you is, “Didja eat?” If you know Mike, then you know he goes by Michael, from Bergen County, New Jersey, right over the George Washington Bridge and about 30 miles from NYC. His dad was a general contractor plumber who liked to cook and mom was an Italian stay-at-home-mom and a bookkeeper, but Michael emphasizes, “Not a bookie…” Since he was the third child of five kids, he swears he suffered from middle child syndrome. “I never got any attention so that’s why I had to open a restaurant and name it after myself,” he chides.

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