Mystery Diner in Wonder Lake: Busy Bee home to delicious variety of cuisines

The Busy Bee in Wonder Lake has been around for decades, but its food is as fresh as ever.

While it’s well-known for breakfast and for serving that first meal of the day from 6 a.m. until it closes at 8 p.m., you can’t go wrong ordering one of its gourmet dinner specialties.

With barbecue, soup, Mexican favorites, a taste of Italy, seafood and much more beyond the breakfast offerings, this place’s menu has it all. And the eats we had for takeout on a recent evening were all so excellent that it’s difficult to say what stood out.

If I had to pick something, it would be hard to discount what we had for starters.

For my entree, I ordered the steak ranchero ($12.99), and stuck with the theme of Mexican food for a cheese quesadilla ($7.99) as appetizer. My companion went for the half slab of baby back ribs ($14.99) as a main course.

The soup of the day, chicken noodle, came as a side with the ribs. The hearty soup was fantastic, and when it hit the tongue, you sensed a particular homemade touch and taste .

The quesadilla was perfect to munch on, with melted cheddar and mozzarella cheeses both inside the tortilla and on top, which I like. The salsa that came with it was good, but mild.

In between bites of the quesadilla and soup, we also snacked on some breaded jalapeño poppers ($7.99) filled with cream cheese that were crisp and excellent. And I had a taste of the fresh fruit that came with a young diner’s cheeseburger and pickle ($4.75).

The burger and fruit were devoured quickly and filled a child’s belly.

Once the adults were ready to tackle our main courses, it was impossible to ignore the ribs. Sometimes, I’m a little nervous to try ribs from a place that does not prepare strictly barbecue meats, but the concern was foundless.

You want rib meat to fall gently off the bone right at the bite area, and that’s exactly what happens when you take a chomp of their ribs drizzled in a zesty barbecue sauce.

Steamed carrots and mashed potatoes came as additional sides with the ribs, and both were great, making this meal practically impossible to finish even between two people. But the perfectly cooked meat and addicting barbecue sauce kept us coming back for more, and we cleared off all the bones in the first sitting.

As for my order, the heat from the steak with ranchero sauce was plenty strong and very satisfying. The flour tortillas that arrived with the dish were soft and perfect for enfolding scoops of the juicy steak, rice, beans and sour cream so you could experience all those satisfying flavors at once.

In my estimation, the only thing that could make our experience at Busy Bee better next time we go is to grab a table for sit-down dining at the restaurant, and order one of the menu’s sweet endings, like a root beer float, as a dessert.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff when ordering or picking up the food. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.


WHAT: Busy Bee

WHERE: 7140 Barnard Mill Road, Wonder Lake

PHONE: 815-728-0929

INFORMATION: Facebook at