‘You can’t do this!’: Started in Boise in 1983, local chain’s final restaurant closes

·2 min read

When word got out last week that the final buzzer was sounding at Buster’s Sports Bar & Grill, Ron Ramza’s phone started blowing up.

“It was like wildfire,” said Ramza, owner of Cornerstone Commercial Real Estate.

Prospective future tenants wanted details. Maybe a tour of the 2,900-square-foot Eagle building?

But a couple of callers, they just wanted to complain.

“They say, ‘You can’t do this to Eagle! We need a place!’ ” Ramza recalled good-naturedly. “I say, ‘You know what? It’s available for sale or lease.’ ”

A sign outside Buster’s let Eagle residents know that the end was near.
A sign outside Buster’s let Eagle residents know that the end was near.

It’s true. Buster’s, 1396 E. State St., has closed. It shut down after a final day of televised NFL playoff games Sunday. Opened in 1999, the Eagle location was the last Buster’s standing.

Locally owned and operated, the original Buster’s appeared on Broadway Avenue in 1983. It served Boiseans for more than 30 years — until 2015. A second followed on Overland Road in Boise in 1991. It made it about a decade.

In the early days, Idahoans often thought Buster’s was a Treasure Valley takeoff on the national Hooters chain. After all, female servers wore outfits such as striped T-shirts and mini-skirts back then. Or wait — was the Buster’s name a tribute to Boise State’s mascot, Buster Bronco?

Neither.

“My dad used to call me Buster,” Lou Pejovich, one of the co-founders, told the Statesman in 1997, “especially when he was angry with me.”

The former Buster’s Sports Bar & Grill is available for sale or lease. Find more details at LoopNet.com.
The former Buster’s Sports Bar & Grill is available for sale or lease. Find more details at LoopNet.com.

Eventually, Buster’s in Eagle was sold. The current owners could not be reached for comment.

Over the years, the restaurant has played a significant role in the Eagle community, Ramza said.

“It’s a go-to destination,” he said. “People who play golf at Eagle Hills, they would run down to Buster’s. Eagle High School kids after football games, after basketball games, they would go to Buster’s. It’s really the only sports bar in Eagle.”

So why did it shutter? Ramza said he wasn’t sure. But it’s not hard to predict the score. Buster’s had reduced its hours of operation in 2021. Nationwide, restaurants are struggling with the increased costs of goods and workers, who are difficult to hire.

Whatever the case, the Eagle building, which sits on a 1.68-acre lot, would seem to have a promising future.

“I’ve had 47 calls since last Wednesday,” Ramza said. “That is unprecedented. I’ve never had anything like it.”

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