Buster’s is one of my favorite places to eat in the valley. I like it so much that Chad and I drove the 60 miles roundtrip upvalley from Napa to Calistoga right before driving the 100 miles roundtrip to Oakland Airport today.
We happened upon it by chance last September as we were driving down from the Old Faithful Geyser (which is laughably lackluster and not worth visiting), and couldn’t believe our luck to suddenly feast on their succulent tri-tip sandwiches with all the barbecue fixings. On that day, I think that Buster himself was even manning one of the outdoor grills.
I’ve only ever had the tri-tip sandwich, but there are also such things pork ribs, pork loin, and chicken (I’ve always felt a twinge of curiosity for them). And you’ll notice from the sign above that even though it’s a very modest road stop eatery — which has a kind of outdoor eating area that is well-covered — it, of course, has espresso, cuz this is still the Napa Valley. Sandwiches with a side are generally $7-9, and dinner plates with two sides are a little more.
This picture doesn’t quite do justice to how laden with meat and sauce that sandwich was; after I picked mine up first to eat, Chad asked, “How did you do that?” I got the hot bbq sauce, which isn’t prohibitively spicy but just spicy and sweet enough for me, but even the regular bbq sauce is a tad spicy (you can order half of each if you want). We both felt the skin tingle around our mouths where it had smeared. They also brush garlic butter onto the inside of the perfectly soft rolls before filling them. Whenever I finish eating the sandwich, I feel like I’ve done something very, very good.
The beans were a neutral, refreshing break between bites. The potato salad, which was also a touch spicy, has a creamy smoothness that comes from the potatoes breaking up a little into the mayonnaise (rather than being simply chunks coated in mayo). Chad had a great macaroni salad with shell shaped pasta that was speckled with ground pepper and had a spicy kick. I’ve had the sweet potato pie for dessert, which is good enough, but now I think I’d just get more meat if I was still hungry somehow.
For a quick, flavorful, and reasonable barbecue lunch, check out Buster’s — no matter what the roundtrip mileage may be.