Career comes full-circle for Robertsdale restaurant owners

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 3/29/19

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — For Ben and Lynette Alleman, taking over as the new owners of Buster’s Southern Pit BBQ in Robertsdale brings their careers full circle.

“I started my career in the …

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Career comes full-circle for Robertsdale restaurant owners

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ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — For Ben and Lynette Alleman, taking over as the new owners of Buster’s Southern Pit BBQ in Robertsdale brings their careers full circle.

“I started my career in the restaurant business and now here I am back in the restaurant business,” said Ben Alleman. “We’re excited to be back in the Robertsdale community and hope to one day pass this along to our children in hopes they will carry on the tradition.”

For Alleman, his career began more than three decades ago when he started working for a group that owned a small chain of Burger King restaurants in Mobile.

He became the first manager of Burger King in Robertsdale when that store opened in 1996 and soon after hired Lynette. The two worked closely together, so closely that they began dating and had to separate career-wise because of company policy.

“For a while our careers were tied at the hip,” Ben said.

In 2010, they came back together, opening their own restaurant, Alleman’s By The Bay, in Fairhope, but the oil spill disaster in the Gulf took it’s toll and they were forced to close after just a short time in business.

Ben Alleman would accept a position with another venture, while Lynette Alleman went to work as the deli manager at Greer’s. Last year, Lynette Alleman said, she was about to leave Greer’s to accept another position when the opportunity arose for the pair to own a restaurant, somewhat ironically in the old Greer’s shopping center on Alabama 59.

“It’s funny, I was prepared to leave Greer’s and now we’re leasing this space from them,” she said.

Ben, meanwhile, had retired, but soon discovered that he was not yet ready for the retired life.

In October of last year, he began working with the previous owners of Buster’s, “just to get a feel for the business and to see if jumping back into owning a restaurant.”

Pretty soon, Ben and Lynette took over the running of the restaurant, expanding from just lunch hours, also adding Sunday hours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will soon be expanding again to spring hours, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday.

They’ve also expanded the restaurant, opening up the back space that used to be a dance studio into a room that can be used for special events. They’re also hoping to expand their catering business.

“With the room in back we can comfortably seat parties of up to 150,” Ben Alleman said, “or we can bring the party to you.”

While they have added a few sandwich choices, the Allemans have kept the menu basically in tact while bringing in recipes that have been in both families for generations.

“All of our sides are homemade from scratch every day,” Ben Alleman said, “made from our families’ traditional recipes.”

Side items include baked beans, potato salad, Southern slaw, sweet potato, mac & cheese, green beans, fried okra and French fries. You can even get a cup of Brunswick stew. Buster’s also offers traditional baked potato or a variety of loaded baked potatoes. A variety of homemade desserts are also made fresh daily.

All of Buster’s meat selections are also made fresh every day, cooked in the traditional Texas barbecue method of low and slow.

“We have inherited some great equipment here and we put it to good use 20 hours a day every day,” Ben Alleman said. Meats include all the favorites from smoked Boston pork butt and Texas beef brisket to Conecuh sausage and St. Louis-style ribs, along with either whole or chopped chicken. All of the meat selections can be ordered as a platter or, with the exception of whole chicken and ribs, can be ordered on a bun.

You can also order Buster’s to go either by calling the restaurant at 251-947-0089 or using the Buster’s to go website, busterssouthernpittogo.com. Order from the menu, by the pound or one of eight Buster’s Bundles, made to serve four or eight.

Call or come by Buster’s at 22245 Alabama 59 S. in Robertsdale, go to busterssourthernpit.com or check out the Buster’s Southern Pit BBQ page on Facebook for daily specials.