Back in the days when her mother worked as a cook at the Busy Bee restaurant, Donna English never thought she would someday own the place.
The Harmar staple, known for its quick, hearty breakfasts as much as its dinnertime comfort foods, has been in the neighborhood since 1954 .
English worked there as a waitress as a teen herself, one of many who have a longtime connection to the cozy diner-like site, filled with tables, a long counter and an array of bobbleheads perched on the wall, many contributed by patrons.
KATE YORK The Marietta Times
Busy Bee waitress Courtney Cunningham takes a break recently after the lunch rush cleared out, as a fellow employee enjoys lunch.
KATE YORK The Marietta Times
The sign for Whispers from the Past, a new business set to open at the Busy Bee, is stacked against the wall until opening day.
"The Busy Bee has always been a part of my life," said English, who bought the restaurant in 2008 with her sister Georgeanna Wade and is now the sole owner. "I have five sisters and every one of us has worked here."
The business was opened on Gilman Avenue in 1954 by Harry and Lily Mae Roberts and later taken over by their daughter and son-in-law.
The Busy Bee had a turbulent time in 2006 and 2007, when it closed, was briefly reopened by new owners and then closed again.
Location: 226 Gilman Ave., Marietta.
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday; Breakfast served until 4 p.m.
Owner: Donna English.
Number of employees: 10.
1940s: The Busy Bee opens on Putnam Street in Marietta.
1954: The Busy Bee is opened on the west side by Harry and Lily Mae Roberts, and later taken over by their daughter and son-in-law Christina and Greg Patten.
Late 2006: The restaurant is closed by the Pattens.
April 2007: The site re-opens with new owners Jackie and Tom Bailey.
November 2007: The restaurant closes and is put up for sale.
March 2008: Sisters Donna English and Georgeanna Wade re-open the Busy Bee.
2014: Whispers from the Past is expected to open as an addition at the Busy Bee site.
That's when English and Wade stepped in.
After managing the VFW in Marietta for 16 years, English said she was ready to do something on her own.
"Owning it is a lot of work," she said. "But I love the people."
The Busy Bee sticks to its formula-home cooking and old favorites like the Wimpy burger.
"Think homemade, cooked from scratch food," said English.
Kay Doak, a cook at the Busy Bee for five years, said her favorite meal is the meatloaf, but some customer favorites include chicken and noodles, homemade spaghetti and broccoli salad.
"The bean soup and cornbread are biggies, too," she said. "Even in the summer."
But it's something else that keeps those loyal customers returning, Doak said.
"You know how everybody liked the bar on 'Cheers' because everyone knew your name?" she said. "It's that kind of place."
It's also the kind of place open to change and additions, though, said English, with a new on-site business set to open as early as this month.
Whispers from the Past will be a secondhand and antiques store connected to the Busy Bee, right off the parking lot, in a room that was once the living room of the restaurant's former owners.
"They had a fire there a long time ago and it hasn't been used," said English. "We took out the ceiling and my friend (Ronnie Davis) has been fixing it up."
English plans to rent out spaces for four booths and then fill some space with her own collection of antiques, some from flea markets and yard sales and more from within the walls of the Busy Bee itself.
She has found all sorts of things tucked away in wall paneling storage and in the attic since acquiring the building, English said.
"I even found all the old receipts and books," she said. "The other owners kept everything."