Family ties and a long history in Marietta make Busy Bee Restaurant the ideal place for old-school diner food at old-school prices.
Current owner Donna English began her career at the Busy Bee Restaurant as a teenager. She was a waitress alongside her sister Georgeanna Wade while their mother was a cook. “I’ll never forget coming in before school and getting a doughnut with my sister,” English says.
Busy Bee first opened in the early 1950s, when “mom and pop” restaurants were common. A “mom and pop” is a small, family-owned business. Today, that type of niche restaurant isn’t as common so when the Marietta restaurant was put up for sale in November 2007, English saw an opportunity.
English says she felt the community needed a restaurant like Busy Bee. Her long time history in the area benefitted her when her sister married the son of the former owner. English knew how much the restaurant meant to her and her family, so she bought Busy Bee in March 2008.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, 60 percent of hospitality facilities fail in the first three years. But with a strong community response, Busy Bee did not have this problem. “Everyone enjoyed it being back opened,” English says. “It’s kind of like a landmark in Marietta.”
The only change to the restaurant is the new vintage antique store, Whispers from the Past. “We opened that a couple months ago it was just a room that was empty,” English says. She says that with her friend Ronnie Davis, she came up with an idea to fix up the vacant room and turn it into something usable. They bought antiques to sell since antiquing has become a popular hobby in Marietta.
Despite the decades that have gone by since the original restaurant opened, English has not changed much with the feel, menu, or the prices of the restaurant. Diners praise the family friendly atmosphere and the delicious, affordable food. People are often surprised at the generous portion sizes. Some of Busy Bee’s most popular menu items are classic diner fare: fluffy pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, and burgers.
Nancy O’Donnell and her husband were passing through Marietta from Westlake in early October and decided to eat breakfast at Busy Bee. “I always love trying local places instead of chain restaurants,” O’Donnell says. “They had the best breakfast at a good price. I’m glad we stopped.”
English says she has no plans to change the “mom and pop home cooking” Busy Bee is known for. “I’ve tried to keep it the same as it was back then, especially with the specials and al the recipes they had,” she says.