An iconic restaurant recently reopened in DeFuniak Springs, but this time with an Italian twist.
The Busy Bee Cafe, located on 7th Street, originally opened in 1992, according to Tammy Lieberman, a waitress who's mother and son co-own the venue. Since they reopened in December, she said the community's support has been amazing.
The mom-and-pop restaurant is open every day — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends — and offers dishes including homemade soups, Philly cheese steaks and the Busy Bee Burger, which is topped with jalapenos and honey mustard.
On Sundays, the food joint spices things up with what Lieberman called "authentic Italian Sundays." Right now, they offer spaghetti and meat balls and baked ziti — each served with salad and break sticks — but will eventually incorporate chicken cutlet, chicken parmesan and meatball parmesan as well.
"That's the day to be here really," she said, and added that her mother and brother are the cooks. "Anyone can make a burger, but not everyone can do Italian."
She said everyone who works for the cafe is family and originally from New Jersey. Her and her two sons — Tyler and Eric— relocated to DeFuniak spur of the moment after her husband passed away in May.
"My son (who was in college for business) wanted to buy a food truck, and instead, my mother was going to open a restaurant and I thought it was best he be with his grandmother and around family at this time of his life," Lieberman said, who shared she also has terminal breast cancer.
She said within a matter of a few days, she bought a house in DeFuniak online, sold her home in New Jersey and moved to Florida with her boys on Aug. 14.
They leased the Busy Bee from its original owner, Dennis Ray, who Lieberman said gave them complete control of the menu as long as they kept the restaurant's original name and fried-green tomatoes.
She said the biggest reward of the whole experience is watching her oldest son blossom into a hard-working man.
"Age is just a number, mindset is definitely what sets people apart," said Tyler Lieberman, 19.
He said he wasn't nervous to have the responsibility that comes with co-owning a restaurant at 19 years old, but rather was ready to get to work and keep the place afloat.
Looking ahead, Tyler said his main goals for The Busy Bee were to keep it in the family and make sure the restaurant stays as clean as possible.
"What sets us apart is that our family is unique," he said. "When you're dealing with our family, you're dealing with a great bit of personality."