It was 67 degrees and sunny outside after a week of rain and cold. I was walking with two friends in downtown Raleigh, searching for a place to eat. We spotted people eating on a rooftop terrace under the sun, shaded by umbrellas. Perfect.
Busy Bee Cafe is on Wilmington Street in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The cafe is a resurrection of the original downtown hot-spot, that was open from 1913-1925. With a zesty menu, a large repertoire of beer and fruity brunch beverages, and friendly staff, I call this one a winner. Busy Bee is a great place to grab a casual bite to eat with family, friends or coworkers.
The essence of the cafe’s menu can be described as burgers and a few pieces of flare. You can start your meal off with a craft beer, and an appetizer. Both menus are two lengthy lists with a lot of variety.We got Cornmeal-Fried Calamari with roasted tomatoes and tzatziki sauce to start. No complaints about the taste; but, it seemed like the serving was a tad small for an appetizer (Nothing in that bowl had been eaten when I took that picture to the left). A few other options included “Bees Nuts,” which is a trail mix, loaded tots, beer cheese and chips, and bruschetta.
Meet our waiter, Mike. He was nice, easy to talk to, and he kindly played along with the whole blog-thing. If all the waiters I meet on this food journey suggest things like Mike’s favorite menu choices, I’m in for some weight-gain.
Mike suggested the Breakfast of Champions Burger. It’s a burger with American cheese, bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, and a side. I got a salad to counter the burger calories. Mike’s choice would have been fries. Burgers are never my go-to option on any menu, but Mike led me in the right direction. This was a good burger.
Other lunch options? Mike said huevos rancheros, pulled pork hash, and the loaded tot burger were popular among customers. The menu changes regularly, so don’t count on getting any of those on your visit to the hive.
My meal was $18 after a $4 tip – a tad pricey considering I didn’t get a drink. The atmosphere and food help ease the pain of a higher tab.
A burger and craft beer joint may not be as exotic as some of the other places I’ve tried in the last few months, but I love that food brings people together. Go to lunch with people you love. Try new things. Explore new places. And don’t forget about old friends who might want to do those things with you.