Jfood's Burger Tour (MSP) Continues - Buster's
Jfood is back in the hunt for more great burgers in MSP and taking guidance from the recent MSP magazine he decided to respect a burger place that earns a 95 and went to Buster’s for another hunk of meat.
The first difference between Busters and other Tavern burgers he has visited is the lighter and brighter feeling that Busters has when compared to Matt’s, 5-8, Blue Door and the Nook. It is more airy, brighter and the tables are further apart. Jfood grabbed a table where he could watch the ballgame and got to work.
The waitress brought over the food and drink menus and Jfood saw a nice root beer was offered Frostop Root Beer (OH) $2 that is made in small batches from the proven formula of a percolation of various barks, herbs and berries; 0.0%ABV 12oz. When it arrived Jfood could say it was one of, if not the best, root beer he has ever drunk. It was creamy, not too sweet, a nice deep barky flavor, excellent choice for a soda.
For the main event Jfood ordered a cheddar cheeseburger (medium rare) with fried onions, bacon and a side of onion rings.
The burger and fries arrived first, along with a small cup of ketchup. Some may not like the little plastic cups for ketchup but after holding many sticky bottles and squeeze tubes in other taverns Jfood was actually glad they served it this way. And that is a change of opinion for Jfood, so old dog, new tricks accepted.
Jfood grabbed some fries first, and they were nicely salted so he dipped into the ketchup and chomp. Fantastic fries. Perfectly cooked, appeared to be cut on premises and the salt application was perfect. Jfood was extremely impressed. The he placed some ketchup on the burger and cut in half. The inside was perfectly cooked to medium rare, a nice shade of pink. Jfood first bite brought almost perfect satisfaction. The meat was great, the bacon was very good, the cheese was nice cheddar, but the bun was good, not great and the fried onions were, well, not up to snuff with the rest of the burger. The onions were boiled onions then fried, they were soggy and blech. Easy fix for Jfood and the onions came off both halves of the burger. Now this burger was well worth the 95 rating it received.
The onion rings arrived. If you have ever seen a plate of onion rings at Busters, you will understand Jfood's reaction was WTF. They were enormous. Not only the portion, but each ring was surrounded by some of the poofiest toppings. Unfortunately many of the rings could not hold the toppings in place so Jfood had half of them naked with lots of topping all around the plate. Jfood looked at other tables and theirs were all much better, so Jfood's was the anomaly. Jfood bit into one of them and it was utter disappointment. The breading was tasteless and the onions themselves were not cooked through. Jfood decided they were not worth the calories and pushed aside and concentrated on the burger and fries.
In conclusion, Jfood would very much agree that this is one of the best burgers in MSP and recommends the bacon, cheese on the burger and the fries as well. Others may like the onion rings for the novelty, but Jfood cannot give them a ringing endorsement.
My only problem with the Buster's burger is the bun. Others might disagree with this, since it's more about how you like your burger. It's too big and therefore too dry. To me, buns should be good, but serve as secondary to the burger and toppings themselves. The buns themselves are from the next door bakery, A Baker's Wife, which I would just like to say is one of the best bakeries I have ever been too, if not the best.
Others will certainly disagree with this, but just so you know--if you don't want a huge bun, a bun that overwhelms your burger, this isn't the place for you. Unless you want to tear a lot of the bun off to make it more reasonable.
I had visited there 2 weeks ago and had the burger, It was a let down to me. I had ordered a MR burger and my GF had a WD burger. Mine was cooked to MW and they burnt the bun, my GF's was blackened, crusty and still a little pink in the center, bun also burnt. It was a bummer after reading about it, we had thought wed found our new local hangout. The service was extremely poor as well just like the said in the magazine. We might be back, but not for the burger. We both just tried the Firelake burger and thought that was a better burger, plus they have thin cut fresh fries.
So thrilled that jfood had a chance to try Buster's! This is one of my regular neighborhood places, mainly because they have an amazing beer selection, and the bartenders are enthusiastic about their offerings. I've never tried the cheeseburgers, but I love the bison burger, which comes with a spicy cream cheese topping. The menu seems a little hit and miss; the pizzas, especially, have been a big miss for me. But the owner and servers have seemed genuinely interested to hear what I disliked in the effort to improve their menu. They used to have major ventilation issues. I'd almost always leave smelling of onions and grease, but they seem to have fixed that recently.
I really enjoy Busters. Any time I visit my friend in S. Minneapolis, we head over there for a burger and beer. Simply done, they are definitely one of the best in MSP. I would definitely put them ahead of places like Bulldog.
Consider yourself warned; the portion size on the fries/rings is enormous. When you order a 'side' (or appetizer) portion of fries, rings, or chips, they give you the entire fryer basket worth. The fries are outstanding, the rings are so-so...just as jfood described. I can't vouch for the chips, but they also appear to be cut in house.
Hey, thanks for this. I've been avoiding Buster's after early reports from Chowhounds, particularly pgokey, were very negative. Also, I always thought they were affiliated (somehow) with Happy Gnome in St. Paul, which has never been a favorite of mine. But, it's been open a couple of years, now. Maybe it's time to give it another try!