First Look: Busty’s Bar & Jukebox

Elevated retro truck stop vibes arrive on Cameron Road

At Busty’s Bar & Jukebox, a love of cars, bars, and music is manifest in a vintage Corvette hanging from the ceiling and a blinged-out bathroom (photos by Haris Qureshi)

Busty’s Bar & Jukebox, a T-shirt line started by former White Horse manager Busty Morris as something of an inside joke when COVID-19 shut down, has become reality as entrepreneur Nathan Hill and Morris team up to open a bar/diner located in Windsor Park.

“There’s so many times I’ve told Nathan, ‘I can't believe this is my work today. I'm putting fur inside a Corvette that we’re gonna hang. I’m putting collages of lowrider magazines in a photo booth.’ Fifteen-year-old me would be stoked,” says Morris of his conversations with Hill (who owns several East Austin bars, including Frazier’s Long & Low, High Noon, The White Horse, and Daydreamers) as they discuss the process behind opening Busty’s Bar & Jukebox, their new venture located on 6214 Cameron Road.

The space previously housed well-known Austin restaurants like Fran’s Hamburgers and Cenote, but Morris and Hill have gone the extra mile to make Busty’s feel memorable in its own right. The walls are covered with car and beer memorabilia and the bathrooms are insanely decked out compared to what you would normally find in a building on 290 East, with glossy mirrors and swanky fixtures and upholstery. (The women’s bathroom looks like a scene from a music video with what seems to be a disco ball and red strobe lighting.) That’s not even to mention the upside-down 1969 red Corvette in the main dining room. Morris takes credit for that piece of decoration, saying, “It was a dumb drunk idea. My dad used to own a bunch of Corvettes back in the day and race them. I've been around cars for my whole life, so I was like ‘Man, we should try to hang a Corvette inside.’” Hill has a similar love for cars, describing the aesthetic of the place as “What if a 1977 boogie van was a bar?”

The food comes courtesy of James Durham of JimJam’s Biscuits (photo by Haris Qureshi)

The food, provided by James Durham (formerly of Kinda Tropical), screams “American and Tex-Mex comfort food” with addictive finger foods like onion petals and duros (a popular Mexican snack of fried wheat seasoned with chili and lime) as well as entrees like hamburgers, turkey clubs, and burritos. They’ve also got vegetarian sandwiches such as their mushroom melt and Beet-LT (that’s a BLT with beet instead of bacon for those who don’t catch on quickly). “I love the Sixties/Seventies cocktail lounges that are dirty and seedy, and a lot of them randomly have really good food,” says Morris. A standout is their biscuit program (which is unsurprising for those who have been following Durham’s JimJam’s Biscuits popups); options here include the honey butter sliders with turkey patties along with biscuits with chili country gravy.

“[Morris] also insisted on breakfast all day, which has been awesome,” says Hill. Morris explains, “Working at White Horse forever, I'd get off at 3 in the morning and make a breakfast sandwich at home. You’re tired and a little drunk, so that’s why we called our breakfast sandwich here ‘The Burnout Breakfast’ because it’s great for a hangover or when you’re drunk at night. We also want to do a blue plate special that does homages to Dart Bowl’s enchiladas, the sandwiches at Hole in the Wall [where Hill used to work] or steak and eggs.” Hill adds, “We want to make it a throwback to the stuff that makes us happy over the years and do it right.”

Of course, no modern Austin dive bar is complete without a popping cocktail menu, and Busty’s has plenty to offer those seeking something more than a $5 Miller High Life. I tried several mixed drinks and some of the most memorable include the Mezquito (their specialty mezcal cocktail) along with the Smoking Jacket (a whiskey-based cocktail) and their Cadillac Margarita with Tromba Tequila. They also have some tropical drinks which include their draft cocktails, the Blue Hawaiian and the Cruzan to the Park, both of which are rum-based.

Busty’s parking lot has been overflowing ever since the place opened and, in a neighborhood starved for nightlife options, there’s no reason to expect the crowd to dissipate anytime soon. Once they begin opening at 11am for brunch and giving people a chance to get their breakfast sandwich or biscuits and gravy before noon, expect locals to be gathering here all hours of the day for the foreseeable future.

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Busty's Bar & Jukebox, Busty Morris, Nathan Hill, James Durham, JimJam's Biscuits

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