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Bud’s Seafood Grille: Simple, Fresh and Local

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Although Bud’s Seafood Grille has been in Stockton for 23 years, I must confess I had never been there. To be honest, I knew of it, but I always assumed it was just a seafood restaurant. Boy, was I in for a big surprise.

Family-owned and operated since 1993, Bud’s food can best be described as “simple and fresh.” Voted Best Seafood Restaurant in San Joaquin County every year since 1994, Bud’s provides the ideal seafood dining experience with an extensive menu of more than just fresh seafood, including a variety of beef and chicken entrees as well as delicious salads and fresh homemade desserts.

Bud’s dinner entree favorites include Sandab Filets, House Seafood Pasta, Bud’s Beef and Chicken Marsala. On Friday nights you will find the Cioppino hard to match. And there’s always something to excite the palate with daily specials such as Bud’s Prawns, Australian Lobster Tail, Cabernet Braised Short Ribs, and Shrimp Jambalaya. And then there are the daily soup specials, including homemade Minestrone and Chicken Soup.

But the clue is in the clam chowder, and as my comrade and I sat down to a table fit for King Neptune himself, our taste buds were already hooked, line and sinker. However, since Bud and Jeanie were out to impress us with the terra firma side of the menu, we started with the thick, rich Minestrone made from scratch and a Cobb Salad piled sky high with crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, topped with blue cheese, smoked bacon, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, chicken and served with a red wine-lemon vinaigrette. It was difficult to decide which I liked better, the Cobb or the Greek Chicken Salad, with mixed greens, tossed with crunchy cucumbers, onion, kalamata olives and feta cheese, stacked with tender, grilled chicken breast and drizzled with Greek pepper dressing. The Chicken Marsala, sautéed with cream, marsala wine, button mushrooms, artichoke hearts and fresh garlic served on a bed of savory rice and seasonal veggies, was so tender and delectable that no knife was necessary.

I did not know this beforehand, but I’m quite positive now that we came just for Bud’s famous BLT. Affectionately known as the Ultimate BLT by those in the know, this classic sandwich is done exactly the way it should be. As Bud himself so lovingly proclaimed, “BLTs are best on plain white bread, no funny stuff, with Best Foods mayo. We layer and lightly salt the tomatoes, with eight pieces of applewood smoked bacon.” And let’s talk tomato. Those are Shady Ladies, straight out of Linden farm country, and naturally only found at Bud’s for a short time. “We will have no other tomato on our BLTs and we only make them here while the Shady Ladies are in season.” Now, take it from me, a dyed-in-the-wool farm girl, we were speaking the same language.

Of course, my comrade and I were happily replete with the continental showing; however, Bud could not completely deny his thalassic affinity and brought out a cup of his famous New England Clam Chowder. Thick and creamy, with chunks of clams and more applewood smoked bacon, it’s said by many to be the best New England clam chowder anywhere. I could have been content with just that and the accompanying slab of fresh sourdough bread.

What a shame we were too full to be totally enticed by the Oven-baked Cheesecake, Blackberry Cobbler or German Chocolate Cake for dessert. And from what I hear about Bud’s Bread Pudding, I may have to make a stop after a shopping trip just for that.

I could tell that Bud’s Seafood Grille would be quite a welcome atmosphere for ladies out for drinks and Bar Bites or full-on dinner, or who just want to catch up over lunch with a friend. On Sundays, Bud’s offers a delicious brunch; it’s quite popular, so reservations are recommended. Happy Hour is offered daily from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There is also a banquet room available for up to 40 guests for more private affairs. HLM

Bud’s Seafood Grille is located at 314 Lincoln Center in Stockton, California. You can call for reservations at (209) 956-0270, find them at and look for them on social media.