24 Jul GLB BARSTOOL CHATS – DARRYL KOSTER, BUSTER RHINO’S
This is the fourth GLB Barstool Chat in our new blog series that will introduce you to a number of amazing people running some of the best craft beer bars in Ontario. As they say in Law and Order – these are their stories.
Meet… Darryl William Dean Koster, owner and operator of Buster Rhino’s Southern BBQ
Buster Rhino’s Southern BBQ
28 King Street East
web – busterrhinos.com
What is your role at the establishment
President, Lead Ash bin Cleaner
How many years have you been there?
How many years in the industry?
What GLB beer is currently available on tap?
THRUST! an IPA and Canuck Pale Ale
Favourite GLB beer?
HA, I don’t drink, for my wife and customers is THRUST! an IPA
How did Buster Rhino’s get started?
Family are competitive BBQ’ers in South Carolina and learned sitting around and drinking with them over a LOT of years. I am an avid cave diver and I would drive down to Florida 2-6 times a year. On my way down I would stay with my cousin whose husband is a world class competitive BBQ champion. We would sit around, drink beer and whisky, eating oysters on the half shell, while ribs cooked on a Friday night. Then we would eat ribs, cook pulled pork etc. I would then drive through to Florida, cave dive for a week and head back and stop in at their place on the way back. Once I was married my wife also feel in love with the lifestyle and we decided to open up a BBQ joint in Canada. Then 5 years ago we opened up a full service BBQ restaurant and decide since we bought local for everything else we would try to buy as much local beer as possible.
How would you describe the bar to a person who has never been there before?
It’s rough around the edges, no doubt about it. We are very passionate about our food. We really try to serve only locally raised meats (Ontario only), veggies etc. Everything we make is made in-house, from the rubs we use, sauces, sides (hand dipped sourdough onion rings for the win), we even grind our own burger meat. We have the largest selection of craft beer in the Durham Region, and a selection to rival many of the great bars in Toronto. We currently have over 200 bottles of Whisky on the wall with about 75 of them being bourbons. Craft Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ are an amazing pairing, it’s worked well for us.
Where did the name originate from and what does it mean?
Buster Rhino’s is an anagram of Southern Ribs. When we first starting thinking about opening a restaurant we tried dozens of names. The smoking ban had just really hit hard in Ontario and every time we used the word smoke or indicated smoked anything people would look at us sideways and say something like – you can’t smoke in a restaurant. At that point they didn’t understand what Southern BBQ was. For the first 2 years we were open we had to give out samples of pulled pork. Nobody understood what it was, or how great it could be. I was fed up trying to explain it to the health department, building department etc., so I came up with Buster Rhino’s. When I saw it i knew that was the name, it worked really well. I called my wife and told her, she thought it was a keeper too, and Buster Rhino’s was born.
Tell the GLB customers something about the bar that the general public might not know.
We are a fairly open book.
What is it that you love about the hospitality industry that gets reflected in your day to day role?
The customers, I love feeding people. When you make a meal for someone and they hug you and say thank you it makes all the bad times disappear.
What other places do you frequent when you’re not at Buster Rhino’s?
Hahaha, my wife and I lead crazy lifestyles. We haven’t even had time for a date for about 2 years now. When we do go out for lunch we will hit up this little Indian place down the road called Spicy Affairs. Fantastic food.
You’ve curated a great beer menu. Can you shed some light on your decision making process?
We go through a lot of beer every year, and with 12 rotating taps plus 100 different cans and bottles of beer the decisions aren’t all that hard. We have a set of criteria though. 1) It must be 100% Ontario based, our benchmark is pretty simple to follow. You cannot be in any way, shape, or form, owned by 1 of the 3 behemoths. We are really careful about this. If we find out you aren’t 100% wholly owned by Ontario residents we generally will not carry your products. 2) You must have some seasonal offerings and one-offs. 3) If you make a batch and it’s not up to par that you will take it back.
Tell the GLB supporters out there reading this about your food menu. What makes it stand out?
100% in house food, you will NEVER find a sysco / GFS / Stewarts truck outside our establishment unless they are eating or picking up. We are lucky in the fact we own a fairly large meat packing plant whose sole purpose is to produce food for the food service industry. If we didn’t it might not be so easy to make 100% of everything.