Established in 1947 by Lucy Jackson, Busy Bee has become an Atlanta institution, known as a notable eatery during the Civil Rights Movement and honored as one of America’s Classics by the James Beard Foundation in 2022. Everyone from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Vice President Kamala Harris has enjoyed its timeless soul food. Menu items include consistent favorites like fried chicken, catfish, BBQ ribs, pork chops, and more.

When Tracy Gates started working at Busy Bee Cafe in 1987, her first challenge was to bring the restaurant back to its roots. Using fresh ingredients, she "kicked the can" out of the kitchen and refocused on authentic Southern cooking from scratch, bringing passion, soul and a dedication to deliver the best possible customer experience.
Tracy and her team receive customers from all over the world. She takes pride in serving food that provides comfort to people having a bad day, brings back fond memories of family recipes, and that reflects a menu that truly resonates with people. Ingredients are carefully selected from local markets or via long-standing partnerships with family farms in the region.
Busy Bee Cafe is the only business in the neighborhood that was started in segregation and still exists today, and Tracy is proud that it continues to be a meeting place in the community.
Fun Fact
Training as a cook at Busy Bee Cafe takes at least three years, learning not only how to consistently deliver the soul food recipes people expect, but also adapt ingredient selection and preparation based on seasonal changes (sweet potatoes have different sugar content through the year). That said, once cooks have mastered their craft, they tend to stay with Tracy until they retire.
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Historical Black-owned Small Businesses

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