December 22, 2014 – Lunch at Busters BBQ & Bakery

This is such a great addition to the Calistoga Restaurant scene. It offers down home BBQ with all the fixings.

There really is no BBQ place within miles with this type outdoor ambiance. They make everything from scratch and use only the best meats. You can tell that the utmost care is in every bite. Charles says, “I don’t care about the other restaurants in the area, I have had a lot of battle scars”. This entrepreneurial spirit makes Busters BBQ light years away from all the other eating establishments. It promises to be ahead of the pack for many years to come.

Buster has a fascinating story, one that you can’t quite equate with eating rich savory BBQ. Charles Davis, aka “Buster”, and his significant other Barbara run all aspects of Busters BBQ. She is the manager and was originally hired as the bookkeeper. She holds the purse strings and all decisions have to be run by her before anyone else. Buster is the visionary, having lots of ideas of what the future for Busters will hold. While Barbara oversees the day-to-day operations, the front serving line and all things having to do with finances. Whoever does whatever, they make a great team. Just look at their track record, Busters has been a successful BBQ restaurant in Calistoga for 15 years now. They offers great menu items with all the sides.

Here’s what I tried:

Cooked Meats:

BBQ Pork Ribs St. Louis, wonderful tender pork that falls right off the bone and with a great down home flavor.

BBQ Beef Ribs, super big, hearty, with lots of great smoky flavor.

BBQ Chicken, better then any other BBQ chicken.

BBQ Tri-Tip (Sirloin Steak), this is their signature meat and you can understand why, it’s the bomb!!


Pulled Pork Sandwich, very subtle seasoning and great consistency, a true winner.


Coleslaw, chopped up in small pieces with nice smooth creamy sauce.

Macaroni Salad, it’s got a little kick but it make this salad all the more delectable.

3-Bean Salad, a little too oily for me.

Potato Salad, the perfect accompaniment to my BBQ lunch.

Baked Beans, sweet and light I would order these every time.

Corn Bread, this is my kind of corn bread, sweet but just the right amount of buttery goodness.


Sweet Potato Pie, this pie is something you must try!


Busters Real Lemonade, this will put out any fires in your mouth, guaranteed to please. They do have a beer and wine license, but don’t really advertise that you can drink beer or wine with your great BBQ.

The back-story to Buster is truly inspirational. Buster lost 200 pounds back in 1998 from the surgery called Duodenal Switch Procedure. Dr. Rapkin and his nurse Barbara Metcalf helped Charles lose the weight. He was in his 40’s and his doctor told him if he didn’t lose weight he would die, so he took the bull by the horns and got this procedure. He is a poster child for the organization and does regular speaking engagements about his transformation. He wanted a procedure where he did not look like he had a surgery. So he mixed exercise in immediately after his surgery and had no extra skin after he lost the weight. But what is so amazing is that owning a BBQ restaurant is not conducive to maintaining ones weight. He claims now he can eat as much and when ever he wants to and will not gain any weight back. As a matter of fact he told me during our fabulous tasting that he has lost more weight in the last few month.

He gave me a calendar from the Pacific Laparoscopy Center in San Francisco with his picture on it and his goal weight loss. He started in 1998, got down to 227, and is now 219 lbs. Fascinating, but Buster has what it takes to make all of his dreams a reality, including his amazing weight loss story.

Busters’ has its share of celebrities: Joe Montana is a great customer, who had Busters cater some of his parties. Robert Redford and Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been some of Busters notable customers.

I was telling Buster about how one of the great characters in the show House of Cards revolves around Freddy who runs a BBQ joint – Freddy’s BBQ in Maryland and his secret relationship with Frank Underwood, Kevin Spacey’s character, and what this means to Busters and the popularity of BBQ.

A lot of Busters recipes are from within the family, handed down from generation to generation. His grandfather Ben hailed from Shreveport, Louisiana. His mother Leola is still sharp as a tack and lives independently in Oxnard, and is 100 years young. She is responsible for quite a few of Busters great recipes. Most family members started in the food business and some attended culinary schools. Charles dedicates my review to his late brother Bennie Davis.

Charles is very hands on, down to the new wood block tables that adorn their casual dining room. He serves his food on paper plates with plastic forks and knives, and has no plan of changing any of it. Soon Buster’s will offer Jazz music, which goes great with BBQ. Busters is “Not just about eating, it’s an experience”!

Busters BBQ
1207 Foothill Blvd.
Calistoga, CA


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