Busy Bee Cafe


(919) 424-7817
225 S. Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27605
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Open smtwtfs
11:00 AM— 2:00 AM

  • Bee people
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Stop by for a delicious lunch or dinner!

The Busy Bee originally opened in 1913, serving breakfast and lunch to Raleigh’s downtown crowd. The café had a varied menu, including fish, oyster and steak. There was also a private dining room for women, hence the “Ladies Invited” signage on the original storefront (see picture). After the café closed in 1925, the space was occupied by a number of businesses, including an auto parts store (Advance), a hardware store (Carolina Hardware), a furniture and appliance store, and most recently a hip-hop fashion outfitter (Capital Clothing). It was also rumored to have been a strip club in the late 1960s. The building was condemned after the entire storefront fell into Wilmington Street in the late 90s, you can still see where the original brick of the wall and the newer brick of the storefront meet. After purchase in the summer of 2008, the building underwent an extensive renovation, reopening as Busy Bee Café and The Hive on April 6, 2009.

And yes, ladies are still invited.