When a restaurant is prominently mentioned in a popular western book and television series, you have to reckon it offers up some pretty good food.
Buffalo’s Busy Bee Cafe, a regular stop for fictional western lawman Walt Longmire, does not disappoint.
The Bee has occupied the space between the Clear Creek and the historic Occidental Hotel since 1927, offering up homestyle breakfasts, lunches and dinners to both locals and visitors on Buffalo’s Main Street.
Ucross author Craig Johnson created Longmire’s fictional county of Absaroka and town of Durant by borrowing elements from Johnson County and Buffalo, including the Busy Bee. Johnson’s books often describe Longmire walking into the Busy Bee and asking for “the usual,” which is now an available option on the restaurant’s menu (eggs, hash browns, toast or biscuit and a ham steak as an upgrade from the usual bacon or sausage).
The atmosphere is friendly, the cafe cozy (seat yourself at one of the dozen or so tables) and the food is just what you’d expect from the center of cowboy country: hearty, tasty and plenty of it.
The standard breakfast of two eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns and toast or biscuit is terrific, with the star of the plate being the homemade biscuits. Light and flaky, they are a perfect accompaniment to the meal.
Three-egg omelettes are also available and cooked to perfection, with the fluffy eggs providing a great shell for generous helpings ham, cheese, vegetables or anything else you might desire.
My personal favorite was the breakfast burrito: eggs, hash browns and your choice of bacon or sausage all wrapped in a flour tortilla and smothered in country sausage gravy. Finishing it is no small feat.
Top it all off with friendly, attentive service, and you’ve got the kind of diner you would expect to hold a position of honor in western literature.