We recently had some time to sit down with the owners of Buntsy’s Neighborhood Food and Drink. Located at 2235 Empire Blvd (formerly AJ’s Steakhouse and The Comedy Club) Buntsy’s had their soft opening earlier this year and since then has really ramped up their staff, their food and drink offerings and their special event schedule. We thought it was a good time for a check in with this new business.
The idea for Buntsy’s came to be in the summer of 2018 when brother in-laws Marc Julian and Dave Bunts agreed that it was time to share their passion for family, food and fun with the Town of Webster.
Marc Julian is the owner of MAJ contracting. He and his team were responsible for the stunning redesign of the building. Marc is a father of three young children he is raising with his wife, Brandy in Webster. His children are very active in Webster sports, and they provided a lot of the inspiration in the concept of this restaurant.
Dave Bunts is a Webster graduate, and a current Webster resident. He is a career Chef and has had a strong following for many years. Dave has spent his career opening restaurants for business owners over his 30 years in the industry, and decided it was time to share his love of food with the community he cherishes.
Buntsy’s is a real family affair, with its roots firmly in Webster.
Here is what we learned about Buntsy’s business during our interview.
Q: What’s the idea / theme behind Buntsy’s?
A: Buntsy’s is all about “Food, Family, and Fun” and supporting the Webster community.
As many in the area know, the building was most recently a Comedy Club and a separate Steakhouse directly across from AMC Webster. When we took over the space, we wanted to create a hybrid scenario, to make sure that Buntsy’s is fun for everyone. Two separate identities in the same restaurant.
The Comedy Club has been turned into the “Family Arena” a fresh, and open dining room, with lots of televisions for live sporting events, and a game room for the kids featuring basketball, air hockey, pinball and crane games for fun the kids love. This dining room is built with the kids in mind! We also have the “Dugout” a semi-private space for fun filled birthday parties!
Down the hall (the old Steakhouse) you will find a brand-new bar, with tons of televisions, dart boards, Golden Tee, a stage for live acts and a brand new 16 tap system to serve up the hottest drafts on the market. Lotto is coming soon! To make sure the sports fans are happy there are not many places in our establishment where you can’t see a television. We wouldn’t want our patrons to miss any of the action, which is why we have the MLB Extra Innings package, so you’ll never miss a game!
And most importantly, no matter which experience you choose, you will encounter excellent customer service and delicious food from a scratch kitchen.
Q: What were the inspirations behind the menu? Is there a Head Chef?
A: One of the things that sets our establishment apart is the Head Chef has his name on the building, so creating a quality product is personal. Dave has built this menu to provide gourmet comfort food, while making sure there is something for everyone on the menu. We have an extensive vegetarian menu, gluten free options, and Keto friendly choices.
One thing we want our customers to understand is that we strive to make them happy. Chef Dave will always try his best to accommodate special requests.
Q: How many people have you hired for the open?
A: We are happy to say that we currently employ 25 people, and we will continue to hire more as we grow. Our staff is the backbone of our business and we have a great team!
Q: Any plans for hosting bands / live entertainment? Anyone lined up yet?
A: Yes! The stage was one of the many reasons we are attracted to the building. We do have shows lined up and the events can be found on our Facebook page. Many are excited for our “80s Breakfast Club” show coming up May 11.
Q: Do you have Signature Dishes / Cocktails?
A: Yes! We have many fan favorites on the menu. A few to check out are: Our real Lobster Roll (this one gets the most social media attention). The Dirty Bird sandwich. Our Home Plate Eggrolls and Pickle Poppers have a cult following, and vegetarians rave about our Sweet Caroline sandwich. Our signature drinks change with the seasons. Currently we are featuring an Avengers themed cocktail menu as way to excite the movie goers.
Q: How about weekly Specials?
A: Our weekly specials have been a hit! We offer “Double Play Tuesday” where when you buy one order of regular or boneless wings you get a second order free (dine in only). On Wednesdays we have our “Burger Bash” where we offer 25% off burgers (dine in only). Fridays we have a delicious fish fry and we offer daily specials as well based on what is inspiring Chef Dave that day. Look for details on our “Steak and Shake” night, coming soon. Another thing we pride ourselves on is our parties. An example: this week we have a Kentucky Derby party and we will be offering themed food and drink specials and a “best hat” contest!
Q: What lessons were learned from the soft opening?
A: We LOVE this question, and would like to take a moment and say thank you to everyone who gave us a try during our soft opening. We listened to the feedback, and took all of it into account, and we are so proud of how we have grown and what our management and staff has helped us create. We strive to get better every day, and we intend to be known as a local business that cares about a strong community, and growing together. As many of you may know, initial staffing is a challenge when opening a restaurant, but we are so happy with the team that we have built! We know you will be too.
However, we would like to use this opportunity to address one issue we are hearing that cannot be fixed at this time. That issue being the entrance. Please know the entrance to the building is on the side. The handicapped parking spots in the front of the building are for the other businesses in the strip, and cause some confusion for first time customers. We hope this tidbit might help a future customer.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: Yes, thank you for your questions. We are really excited to have to opportunity to serve the community, and we look forward to meeting all of you. You will find Dave in the kitchen almost every night if you want to say hi!