When a devastating fire closed beloved neighborhood bar Buster's on 28th in Standish-Ericsson last June, the restaurant calmly put an "open soon" sign on their window. As months passed, questions started to arise about whether the beer joint would really bounce back. The company faithfully posted vague updates on their Facebook page, but it took until early July for the bar and restaurant to return to action.
See also: Buster's on 28th is set to reopen July 7
Loyal fans will recognize a few menu adjustments, along with more beer taps, new bathrooms, and a small increase in square footage thanks to an addition on the back end of the establishment.
Buster's remains a beer bar, with 32 taps and several wine options. The beers mostly represent the craft movement (from Minnesota to California and New York) and there are several imports (Belgium, Germany, and Scotland). Most stay within the $5-$7 per pint range.
The food menu is a mix of sandwiches and burgers, pizzas, and small plates and appetizers. The sandwiches use carefully sourced ingredients, as in the bison burger, which was cooked with bacon ground into the patty to produce a moist and juicy chew. The beer-braised beef sandwich is braised for six hours in Murphy's stout, and pairs well with the varied beers on tap. Fries are house-cut and fried crisp, and seasoned with salt and pepper. The servings were ample and more than enough to match a couple of rounds of beer.
Curry mussels off the small plates menu will run you $10 for a large bowl of fresh-steamed mussels soaking in a lightly spiced red curry sauce. It has lingering chili pepper-zing, but is light and creamy in texture and blends well with the mild mussels.
As a whole, the room doesn't feel very different than it did before the fire. It's still narrow and packed, and making one's way from front to back (where the restrooms are located) is to traverse an obstacle course filled with busy servers and over-packed tables. As a result of the crowd, the restaurant is very noisy and it can be hard to hear conversation -- small parties would be better served at the patio, which sits on 28th Avenue with a handful of quiet sidewalk tables. The patio has a relaxed feel, and many who waited for tables simply stood on the sidewalk out front, enjoying their beverages in the summer evening air.
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