Owner of soul food spot in Daytona plans to open chain of restaurants
BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
The Busy Bee Too Cafe, known for soul food and Georgia sweet tea, has been taken over by Nathaniel Anthony, who formally was a manager at Vince Carter’s restaurant in Daytona Beach.
Anthony purchased the restaurant and brand in April after the building sat vacant for several months. He and wife Tijuana have plans on franchising within the next 18 months into a chain known throughout Central Florida. Busy Bee Too Cafe is located at 456 S. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Daytona Beach.
“Everything is contingent on the blessing of God,” Anthony told the Daytona Times. “If we are blessed with an overwhelming success in the near future, then that will afford us the opportunity to look at developing more.”
Anthony graduated from the Bethune-Cookman’s School of Hospitality in 2010 specializing in culinary arts and has been in the restaurant business for years, most recently as a manager for four years at NBA player Vince Carter’s namesake restaurant in Daytona Beach.
The Busy Bee Too Cafe caters to a broad spectrum of customers to include the surrounding Orange Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard community, students and faculty of Bethune-Cookman University, executives seeking after-hour meetings and a fully staffed catering service.
We’re modern, business-casual,” Tijuana Anthony explained.
Patrons can order what is on the menu or ask for special dishes, which can be cooked to order whether on the menu or not. Everything from the busy bee burger, sunrise burger or queen bee burger can be found on the menu as well as turkey wraps, fried chicken, seafood, pork chops and plenty of veggies.
“Our slogan is ‘Food that’s good for the soul,’” Tijuana told the Daytona Times. “Believe it or not, liver and onions is the No. 1 seller at the Busy Bee Too.”
Chef Nathaniel says it is due to not only the taste but its appeal as a lean meat, being an old Southern dish and being high in iron, adding that it also holds true to the restaurant slogan.
“We are a Christian faith-based business. It’s like cooking at home. It’s personable and it’s not like you are sitting in a restaurant and nobody wants to serve you because of your color.”
Sitting on the MLK thoroughfare with Bethune-Cookman three blocks away, the Anthonys say they have some prime real estate.
“With the community and the churches we are in a great location, we have to gain the confidence of the community though because the location has been turned over so many times and we have been successful at that so far,’’ Tijuana said.
Although Nathaniel Anthony talks of expansion, he has a very poignant process in mind with doing so. He says the whole concept of Busy Bee Too Cafe is to keep it within the inner city.
“We could be on ISB (International Speedway Boulevard) or on George Engram (Boulevard) but it is a neighborhood aspect we are trying to get back to. The highest item on our menu is only $12. It affords people to eat in an environment that is conducive to their own people.
He asked, “How many kids can get up in the morning and see a Black man go to his own business?
We have a $3 breakfast, a $6 breakfast an $8 all you-can-eat breakfast. When we look at all the other businesses in our neighborhood, there are the car washes – and I’m not saying that is a bad business and you have the beauty salons. This is the only other real business in the area.”
“This used to be the hub of the Black businesses,” he added. “As economics allowed us the change to move out to Derbyshire, to Port Orange to L.P.G.A, we have removed ourselves from the community. We don’t mind going to church here, but we don’t spend our money here. We want people to know that it is safe enough to drive up and down the street and safe enough to eat here.
“We want to keep you in the neighborhood,” he continued. “If you have a restaurant in your community why not support it and make sure it’s successful. We are clean, professional and worth the effort, if it is an effort to come here.”
While speaking with the Anthonys, Charmaine Green, an Ormond Beach resident and first-time visitor stopped by Busy Bee Too. She said that she had heard there was a real soul food restaurant on MLK and drove down to try it out.
“I try to promote Black businesspeople, whether it is food I eat or if I can get a Black person to cut my grass or to buy a product. We should uplift one another. Don’t be jealous and envious of others,” she said. “When opportunity knocks for you, don’t let it slip you by. The Chinese open restaurants when opportunity knocks and so should you.”
While looking over the food choices Green remarked, “You can’t go wrong with a menu like this.”