Buster’s Ice Cream & Coffee Shop | South Pasadena

One of LA’s first ‘Second Wave’ coffee shops that opened up in the late 80’s is Buster’s Ice Cream & Coffee, located on Mission Ave in South Pasadena. Their location, right next to the gold line and right across the street from the Mission Street Farmers Market (every Thursday) is unique, their food is great, and their two stories of seating with views of the train make it an interesting spot for people watching, book reading, and more.

The coffee is getting better. That’s the best I can say. I’ve had really bad experiences in the past, but my cappuccino today (and fresh brewed coffee) were a great step in the right direction. I learned they recently put their staff through barrista training again – so it’s obvious their trying to up their quality.

Their food is great. They make everything from scratch in their upstairs kitchen. I had a Bran Muffin that was great. They also serve Fosselman’s ice-cream, cheesecake, lots of delicious sandwiches, and more.

The views and seating on the bottom floor feel nice for meeting friends and sit-down food. My only complaint would be that the up-stairs seating (which somehow always beckons to me since it has better views & is more quiet) is somewhat uncomfortable & slightly awkward. Some of the seats are weirdly positioned, some low bar stools are bolted in place, there is a bench up there – it’s all a bit strange. Not bad, mind you – but just a little eclectic.

After my review, I was able to sneak aside one of the owners, Collette Richards, who filled me in on some of the crazy things they’ve went through over the last 20 years – including being in the middle of the 94 Riots, lines out the door just for their coffee, lines no-where to be seen, and everything in between.

Buster’s is one of those places that really tries hard to offer great things to their customers. I’d say their coffee isn’t the best in LA – but they’re moving in a great direction – growth. Any retail business has to change with the times, and I believe this place will be around a long time – and will only get better and better.


South Pasadena, CA

Buster’s Ice Cream and Coffee Shop
1006 Mission Street
South Pasadena, CA
(626) 441-0744

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