Monday, February 11, 2008

A Quick Restaurant Review - The Busy Bee Cafe

Sunday was supposed to be a busy day. Up at eight and at the gym, some grocery shopping then home. Breakfast, start some laundry and clean up, then finish putting the primer on the final wall in the kitchen. After that I was going to buckle down and get together the notes of the book I've been working addition to the film...and the other book(s)...and the short stories...and around dinner time go to the movies with Sporty.

I woke up at 10:30. It didn't pick up from there.

As it was around 11:30 Slim called and invited me to supper (not brunch) at this little soul food spot called the Busy Bee Cafe down on MLK. A quick shower and I was out the door, further throwing my schedule into further disarray. But then it was one of those Sundays.

The Bee is in a closet across from Publix. I'm exaggerating a bit, but it is a spot that some reviewers would call cozy. Small is the proper term. Four more feet on one side and it would be a wholly different place. Decorated in early "Spot" it's small tables and ample booths are overlooked by photos of black celebrity who've stopped in for a bite. I saw Don King, Danny Glover and most of the cast of Good Times from my vantage. If they let me know when Thelma's coming back, her meal is on me.

Looking at the porkchops that were placed down on the table next me, I got the impression this might be good. And when Slim, who is a vegetarian, added the fried fish to her order, I was sure. Mulling it over, I ordered the smothered fried chicken with a side of rice, and green beans with yams on the side. And Slim I settled in for what was a suprisingly short wait.

The crowd there is a mix of the just out of church crowd and the I ain't even thinkin' 'bout church crowd, packed into a space the size of my mother's living room and dining room. It's a close grouping of booths on one wall, tables in the middle and a lunch counter, with well dressed grandmothers getting plates to go, ballers waiting for tables, and a deacon enjoying okra and pulled pork. As I watched the food whipped out of the kitchen so quickly, and the servers snatched it up so swiftly, it was wonder no one was sloshed with gravy. I hoped whoever's grandma they had in the kitchen got a smoke break every now then, because they were seriously cranking it out.

And on a side note...the sweet tea was the bomb.

Our food arrived, in Atlanta restaurant time, so fast I barely had to time for light and witty conversation. I tasted the rice, which honestly they could have let cook just a bit longer, but the gravy tasted like gravy should. They'd served up a whole breast and wing, the yams weren't too sweet and along with my other sides and the warm soft roll, my only wish is that the meal lasted longer & that my plate was a little bigger. The smiling portrait of Whitman Mayo (Sanford and Son's Grady) smiled down looking like he wanted a bite or two. He's a great and all, but bruh, order your own!

In friend news, Slim has now got her house on the market after a ridiculous number of break-ins. There are times I marvel at her tenacity. She got a veggie plate and although she said she only wanted a little piece of fish, she scarfed down the tilapia doused in some hot sauce with a quickness. I had wanted a taste, but I feared to ask.

The Busy Bee is a very homey spot, taking me back to old church dinners in the country and lunches at the spot in college where you had enough left over for seconds. When my waiter asked about dessert, I told him only if they had a cot in the back to go with it. I tipped almost 25%.

If you really want some good soul food, head on down to the Busy Bee. I know I will.

Barkeep...more tea. And see if they still got some pie in the back.

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