Whenever I travel, it’s an opportunity to eat somewhere new. So I research. What’s wrong with that? I had planned on eating at Lantern in Chapel Hill. But it was closed. It’s closed on sundays. So I decided to go to Poole’s instead. It’s closed too. Fins? Closed. Second Empire? Closed. Foundation? Closed. Bloomsbury Bistro? Closed. ARGH. I’d never really experienced this restaurant being closed on sundays phenomenon before. It was so alien to me. It literally took me a few hours to find a place open. And no, I refused to go to fast food or a chain. But finally, I ended up at Busy Bee Cafe.
What a friggin cool place. First off, it gets kudos for being open every day, including sunday! It’s in downtown Raleigh too, which is also quite cool. There was nothing much going around in the neighborhood, but the busy bee was still kickin. The place is adorable. Exposed brick, exposed joists, exposed ductwork, cool flooring, cool art, just cool everything. Did I mention that they were actually open? When you first come in, it looks a bit like a coffee shop. Then there’s a big bar with a dizzying number of booze bottles and an impressive beer selection. There’s a bunch of tables in the bar area. Then there’s a surprise upstairs dining area. Who knew?
So I didn’t plan on getting grits again. Really, I swear I didn’t. But I couldn’t help myself. I asked the tattoo sleeved and well ear gauged server too and he said they were really good. So yeah, I got the shrimp and grits. C’mon, look at this thing! Cheesy grits with big ass shrimps, andouille sausage, and bell pepper. Savory and zesty, with the juicy crunch of shrimp and sausage, and the soft mush of grits. It was so good, I could not help myself! I’ll probably never have many chances to eat grits again, so I’m just trying to satisfy my grits tooth while I’m here.
There’s kind of a mix of items on the menu, including sandwiches, burgers, some taco type stuff, salads, and a few entrees. Something that I particularly liked was that all sandwiches and burgers came with your choice of sides. And this even included mac & cheese. I saw someone else order this so I had to order a side of it. It was made with penne, which is different, and it was very cheesy. It was good, but not great. The penne was a bit too al dente. Al dente is fine when it’s in a pasta dish, but it’s a bit too hard when it’s mac & cheese. I think it would have also been better if it had been baked. It was clearly not baked at all, and instead was just pasta drenched in a thick cheesy sauce. It was a high quality cheese sauce, but mac & cheese, especially in a restaurant, should be baked!
Good food, very affordable, and friendly service. And open every day of the week. These are all wins in my book! And man alive, could the male restaurant staff be easier on the eyes? Ladies, and some gents, take heed! When in Raleigh and in need of good drink and good food and some good visuals, to boot, look no further than Busy Bee Cafe! On sundays or any day!