Buster’s on 28th

A south Minneapolis eatery redefines the neighborhood hangout

WHAT MAKES A GREAT neighborhood bar? Is it a Cheers-esque atmosphere? Killer appetizers? More beer taps than barstools? By just about any measure, the creators of Buster’s on 28th have hit upon the magic formula that defines a great local hangout. This is a bar for beer-and-food buffs who won’t be satisfied by the standard bottle of Grain Belt and a basket of greasy chicken wings.

Buster’s, which is located in south Minneapolis, just north of Lake Nokomis, offers well-spaced high tables and comfortable booths that give patrons liberal room to enjoy a connoisseur-grade selection of more than 20 tap brews. The list, among the best in the city, includes hard-to-find imported and local beers—everything from Left Hand Sawtooth (Colorado) and Delirium Tremens (Belgium) to Wisconsin’s Rush River Bubble Jack and seasonal Surly taps, direct from Brooklyn Center.

As is appropriate for a pub, the appetizers at Buster’s shine. The lightly battered onion rings were accompanied by a perfectly matched grainy mustard sauce and arrived at our table wickedly hot and amazingly crispy. The chicken wings were better still, made from tender, delectable meat and served with a side of buttermilk blue-cheese sauce.

Main courses also succeeded, though less spectacularly so. The build-your-own Buster Burger with the works isn’t the best in town, but it is pleasantly juicy and bursting with mushroom flavor. The restaurant’s pulled-pork sandwich was also good, though its heavy cumin aftertaste was oddly reminiscent of chicken tikka masala.

With its blend of atmosphere, eats, and brews, Buster’s has embraced the classic template of the neighborhood bar—and elevated it to a whole new plane.

4204 28th Ave., Mpls., 612-729-0911 » Lunch and dinner daily.