Sleepy Bee Cafe (Facebook / T: @sleepybeecafe / IG: @sleepybeecafe)
3098 Madison Rd. (map it!)
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 533-2339 (it spells BEEZ)
Open Mon-Fri, 7a-2:30p; Sat & Sun, 8a-3p
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/Y/Y
Visited: Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
A couple weekends ago we snuck down to Cincinnati to do some exploring. It started with a trip to see Art of the Brick at the Cincinnati Museum Terminal (it’s incredible – stay tuned for a blog post about the trip), then snowballed from “Well, we should find a breakfast spot” to “We found a cheap hotel on Hotwire” and suddenly it became a weekend trip. (Again, you’ll read more about that soon.)
The kind folks from Cincinnati USA suggested the Sleepy Bee Cafe in Oakley, right off the highway, for breakfast on the way in. As the name implies, there’s an apiary theme to the restaurant, and boy, do they run with it. It’s impressive.
On our arrival, the cafe was buzzing with activity (see what I did there?). We were fortunate to only wait about ten minutes, but the line was steady. The cafe is beautiful: big front windows, brick walls, polished wooden floors, bee-themed artwork on the walls. We placed our name with the hostess, who said she would text us when the table was ready. There’s a little space to wait up front, but near the center of the restaurant is a handy waiting area.
With the open layout, you can see into the kitchen, where servers were running to and fro.
And if you’re occasioned to wait, take the opportunity to check out the bee-themed artwork on the walls.
Maps on the wall will tell you where the Sleepy Bee sources many of their ingredients.
A small coffee counter to one side includes some seating. They offer the full line-up of espresso drinks.
Mrs. Breakfast With Nick ordered a cappuccino while I tried the espresso. Both arrived in Sleepy Bee mugs.
The breakfast menu is pretty extensive. You’ll need time to take it all in and to appreciate every single pun and play on bees and bee culture. Note that Sleepy Bee features some solid gluten free and vegan offerings, like their pancakes.
We were pretty quickly taken by the specials of the day. Our boys didn’t waste any time choosing the Nutella pancakes. It’s a hefty stack of buttermilk pancakes topped with Nutella, chocolate whipped cream, and a generous dusting of cocoa.
I knew, heading in to a weekend in Cincinnati, that I’d be enjoying some goetta, so I got started with the first breakfast. Sleepy Bee’s breakfast sandwich came with a thick piece of crumbly goetta, an over easy egg, and greens. It was messy but delicious. It came with a side of roasted redskin potatoes. They were soft without being mushy, and were served with a sweet aioli sauce – I wanted more of it!
The boys split the pancakes and a kid’s serving of cheesy scrambled eggs and toast.
The other special was a very savory Chinese five spice pork benedict. It featured a good portion of the soft shredded pork, slaw, hollandaise, and a side of those potatoes.
Breakfast at Sleepy Bee was a very fitting start to our weekend in Cincinnati. One thing we were impressed with – about the city as a whole, but the restaurants in particular – is that they knew their DNA and they stick to it. Sleepy Bee picks up on the apiary theme and they run with it all the way. And true to the nature of the bee, one of the connectors in our food supply, they feature food that is bright, natural, and carefully sourced.