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“Typical 50’s diner with very good Pastrami.”
Review of Busy Bee Cafe

Busy Bee Cafe
Ranked #13 of 439 Restaurants in Ventura
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $13
Cuisines: American, Diner
Good for: Families with children
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Reviewed March 14, 2011

There menu says the pastrami is flown in from Chicago, and being a Southern California native I have to take them at their word on that. The taste was sure good.

It was very flavorful, not greasy or salty with just the right amount of fat on it. The portion size was average. The Cole slaw was good and not filled with mayonnaise as is so often the case.

There are multiple authentic fountain drinks, like phosphates, on the menu but I had to go with with an old favorite, chocolate shake. The large glass comes with leftovers in the stainless steel mixing cup and the chocolate syrup is dripping on the edge just like any respectable diner in the 50’s would have done. Perfect!

The staff was very fast and efficient, but not very friendly.

Having the old juke box selection available at the table was a fun touch as well.

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Thank Nomad_LA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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195 - 199 of 209 reviews

Reviewed February 1, 2011

Been eating here for 20 years. Been taking people here for 20 years, and never had one person not enjoy it a lot. The other reviews have NEVER been my experience. Best pastrami sandwich I ever had in my life, and that includes all my time in NYC. Get The El Dorado Omlette. Yum.

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Thank venturaace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2010

Ah, me. I stupidly went there a few times. At first, I tried to be understanding when other people wanted a "greasy spoon" experience - but seriously, this is GREASY food. The decor is cute (one or two times) and kids love it (hence my several trips). Then, we were overcharged on our credit card. We paid for two meals (when we only ate one - and it came to about $25 for a kid and an adult; we were charged that PLUS $60 for someone else's meal. To this, the Busy Bee admitted - after many calls and emails - that indeed, the two people in my party had not been at two simultaneous tables, paying for six people total. I even tipped for the other party!

Their response when I called? It happens! We're BUSY. We get CONFUSED. Uh huh. They can't keep the same waitress at your table. There is also high turnover over time. They have no experienced help. I was given an email address (of the owner) who at first reassured me I would be reimbursed, I emailed and snail mailed bank statements at his request - and no refund. Called again - very brusque response. No refund. I should have called my bank, but I was optimistic about handling it with the Busy Bee and procrastinate. Lesson learned.

I shared this information with quite a few people, but a teenager I know just had to go to this place with friends and guess what, it happened again - he was charged for TWO meals. Hmmm. How often does this happen at Busy Bee? I started reading reviews on Yelp and Chowhound and found they seem to make a lot of mistakes there, in their credit card charges. I stopped by the restaurant to try and help get this kids' money back and met the owner and decide he wasn't the type I wanted to mess with - some issues aren't worth it. I had also thought (sadly, always optimistic) that while I was there I would bring in the copy of my correspondence with him and he got rather upset that I would bring it up *in the restaurant.* Of course, he had ceased answering my phone calls and email. They also had more of my personal information (I had sent back statements!) than I cared for. Indeed, if there weren't other people in my shoes, I'd be a little uncertain about writing this review.

And now, I am encouraging other people I know who have had this unpleasantness regarding double billing, added items or what-not at Busy Bee to post online about their experiences. Obviously, I can't review for them - but it's odd that I know other people with the same problem (not just the teenager).

So go at your own risk, be seduced by meatloaf and gravy or chicken fried steak or really mediocre burgers and fries and overpriced rootbeer floats and pie. Bask in the endlessly repeated round of 50's oldies that *never stops* at any time and remember those days when soda fountains had only one harried waitress - because that's what the Busy Bee strives to recreate.

They didn't have credit cards back in those days, though.

And note well: as of this review date, they have NO excellent reviews. Go to Natural Café or Thai Peruvian or Denny's or Nona's or C Street Restaurant, even. Eat at Subway. There's a new breakfast place going in two doors down - I think that's a good business plan.

Hamburger Habit around the corner on California and Thompson, In and Out Burger across the freeway and south a little, by the way. Way cheaper, way better. And read all the other 1 star reviews, I beg you!

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3  Thank LeBiscuit D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2010

I guess everyone's experience and taste differs. My wife and I had lunch here last week. I remembered from several years ago that I had a good experience at the Busy Bee, and in spite of some negative reviews decided to give it a shot. I am glad we did.

The atmosphere was great 1950's (and I am old enough to remember!), our waitress was also great 50's (both age and period) and the juke box music was rock and roll.

I ordered a Reuben sandwich for my wife and myself and she had some cole slaw and I ordered a side of fries for myself. The Reuben was excellent. Lots of fresh, tender and tasty corned beef adorned with the requisite 1000 Island dressing, cheese and sauerkraut, all in perfect proportions on good rye bread. It was a large sandwich and sharing was the best thing for us. We also both liked the French Fries which came to the table very hot and fresh, and the creamy cole slaw.

The only downside for us was the ladies rest room, which according to my wife needed cleaning. On the other hand, the men's room was quite clean.

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Thank lobo59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2009

This cafe has gone down in both service and food quality. At the time we arrived for dinner there was only one other person in the cafe, our waitress literally sat us down, took our order wrong, did not offer an apology of any sort, barely spoke and when she did it was in a rude tone. I ordered what would be a simple, can't go wrong cheeseburger, the meat was dry and old, and the fries tasted old and stale. It's no wonder the place was empty. Oh and to make matters worse I went to the ladies restroom to wash up and my stomach turned when I entered an saw a backed-up toilet with floating sharks. This was the worst restaurant experience I have had in a long time. $30 dollars down the drain. Left zero tip for the friendly waitress.

1  Thank magydoll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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