What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Burger review of the month: Busy Bee Cafe

Posted June 20, 2012

The guys from The Straight Beef tackled Busy Bee Cafe in Raleigh for their burger of the month review.

It was already wrong on so many levels – ethical and legal among them – that we were following the Loaded Tots appetizer with three Loaded Tot burgers. So when our server asked what side dish we’d like, to a man we resisted temptation and took the higher ground: no side tots.

loaded tots

The Straight Beef routinely discusses the placement of a burger’s toppings – known in burgiatry as “the order of the build.” The Loaded Tot burger was the first burger we’ve had, however, that literally required construction. Erected upon its beef foundation was a tot ziggurat, topped with bacon balustrades, scallion stiles and a sour cream sconce, alight with promises of burger bliss.

Alas, the structure’s base – the patty itself – did not support (in flavor or quality) the pyramid of cylindrical fried taters affixed upon it. Yes, the beef was cooked to our specifications – a surprisingly uncommon quality – but the taste was uninspiring. The patty was clearly prefabricated, too perfectly circular and homogeneously thick. It was of high quality in the spectrum of prefab patties, but not a proper pedestal for what was otherwise an inspired architectural homage to our beloved great American comfort food.

loaded tot burger

The fact that the burgers were served on kaiser rolls (really? kaiser rolls again? we throw up our hands on this subject) ensured that the burger, though reaching for the heavens, would keep its terra quite firma. A soft potato bun – or even sesame seed – might have emphasized the burger’s strengths and bumped it up a quarter to half point.

Despite its magnificence in blueprint and its extraordinary design, in fruition the Loaded Tot did not distinguish itself amid the Triangle-area burger skyline.

But we will say this, a sentence we’ve neither uttered nor written before, about the Busy Bee: Best tots ever.**

The Loaded Tot burger (score out of 5):

Michael: 3.5
Scott: 3.25
John: 3.5

Average score: 3.42

Scott, Michael and John are The Straight Beef, a group of professional burgiatrists who review, rate and rank Triangle-area burgers on their award-winning blog. You can read more about The Straight Beef, including their education and scholarship, ratings system, and burger categorization method here

(**Note: Busy Bee did make Out & About's list of the Best Tater Tots in the Triangle.)


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  • aspenstreet1717 Jun 21, 2012

    'Uniform look' people get the wrong idea. Scrap it.

  • ncsuwx Jun 20, 2012

    I agree with this review. I thought the burger came out of a box from the freezer. I was not impressed.

    Interesting to see luvyou02's comment. The definitely need to think about ways to add some flavor. It was BLAND at best. The 3.25 score is generous.

  • luvyou02 Jun 20, 2012

    Actually, I would like to clarify one incorrect assumption. The patties at Busy Bee Cafe are ground in house and then formed into circular molds so that there is a uniform look. However, they are NOT frozen or purchased pre-formed.

  • piratejosh76 Jun 20, 2012

    I have grown increasingly tired of going out to places that have these "pre-fab" burgers.