New Stories

Busy Bee Cafe, in Cullman, Alabama established 1919 now rebuilt

On April 27, 2011, the citizens of Cullman, Alabama lost many of their original structures, when an EF4 tornado struck downtown Cullman, Alabama.  Many historic buildings were destroyed including the Busy Bee Cafe. Established in 1919 the Busy Bee Cafe is Cullmans oldest restaurant. It was originally opened in by Milford Ford.

“When people would come in to town, you wouldn’t say ‘Go down to Fifth Street and turn,’ you would tell them to go down to the Busy Bee Cafe and take a right,” Cullman Museum curator Elaine Fuller said. “But, (after the tornado) the Busy Bee wasn’t there anymore. It’s just devastating the number of businesses lost, and they were landmarks.”


Photographs  in Cullman by Carol Highsmith 2010 – Library of Congress

busy bee est. 1919 carol highsmith

busy bee sign

 This was the site of the Busy Bee Cafe after the 2011 Tornado

However, the resilient residents of Cullman did not let the tornado discourage them and have  rebuilt. One year after the tornado hit, the Busy Bee reopened.

The Spears family has owned the café since 1967. “The café’s owner, Kitty Spears, was inside the building on April 27, 2011. She suffered a broken pelvis when the tornado hit. Despite her injuries, Spears started planning the reopening of the café while lying in her hospital bed. Today, she can be seen cooking for customers behind the counter.”


  1. WALB NEWS 10
  2. Library of Congress

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1) is a collection of lost and forgotten stories about the people who discovered and initially settled in Alabama.

Some stories include:

  1. The true story of the first Mardi Gras in America and where it took place
  2. The Mississippi Bubble Burst – how it affected the settlers
  3. Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama –
  4. Sophia McGillivray- what she did when she was nine months pregnant
  5. Alabama had its first Interstate in the early days of settlement

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1)



  1. That was a sad day all over the state.

  2. Hate to be the grammar police or anything, but shouldn’t that be “…April 27, 2011…”?

    1. Haha. I noticed that typo too. I don’t think Alabama was a state in 1011.

    2. Thanks for catching that. Sometimes my fingers don’t obey me.

  3. Best breakfast in Cullman, but don’t tell anybody.

  4. I have read and searched for e past, almost 3 hours, every post concerning Busy Bee Cafe. Probably missed it, but I enjoy entering contests, so I was searching for the answer to, “When did Busy Bee add FRIES to their menu?”

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