Natomas Bites: The Bee’s Cafe++ Photo

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Updated April 30, 2022*

In July 2021, The Bee’s Cafe++ closed due to a staffing shortage with plans to reopen a month later. Chef Juan Alvarez reopened March 11, 2022 with a counter service format but later announced the restaurant would close permanently on April 30, 2022 citing the labor shortage and location for making it a challenge to recruit employees.

The Bee’s Cafe++ is the newest breakfast and brunch spot in Natomas.

The restaurant, located near the corner of Northgate Boulevard and San Juan Road, celebrated its grand opening on May 15, 2021. with live music and complimentary refreshments.

The Bee’s Cafe++ menu features classic favorites and fresh creations from chef Juan Alvarez, a Natomas native.

Juan Alvarez plates a Princebee smoked pulled pork sandwich. / Photo

“We want to bring something different to this area,” said Alvarez, who grew up on Vallarta Circle across the street from Natomas High School. “There is nothing like this here.”

Alvarez said he worked for years in Sacramento-area restaurants including Il Fornaio, Sienna and the Waffle Experience before striking out on his own to start a catering business five years ago.

At the beginning of 2020, Alvarez said he and his wife Arlen started talking about opening their own restaurant, but she worried it was not the right time. Three months later, everything was closed.

“It’s a good thing he listened to me,” she said. The pair decided to move forward in 2021.

The Bee’s Cafe++ moniker was inspired by family nicknames, the couple explained.

When the husband-and-wife team first met 12 years ago, said Alvarez, Arlen called him “honey bee.” When they married, she became “queen bee” and he “king bee.” And even before their son was born, they called him “baby bee.”

Arlen Alvarez / Photo

This hive theme carries over to both the The Bee’s Cafe++ color scheme and décor as well as names of menu items. There is a Bee’urger (burger) and Bee’ndwiches (sandwiches), Bee’ndicts (eggs benedict), BeeMellets (omelets), and Bee’laquilles — Alvarez’s spin on chilaquiles.

“It’s my favorite breakfast,” he said of the three different chilaquiles dishes on the robust menu. “(The menu) is what we like to eat.”

Menu specials include the Bee’steak (steak and eggs) and Bee’CFS (chicken fried steak) and there are buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles and brioche French toast. The Bee’verages (drinks) include soda, juices, local coffee, made-to-order Oaxaca hot chocolate and in-house fermented pineapple “tepache” (kombucha). The menu includes several vegetarian options.

The Princebee sandwich. / Photo

Alvarez said he and Arlen try to visit Napa restaurants for inspiration, but they also frequent a variety of restaurants in Natomas, where they live with their children Axel and Andrea.

“We love food,” Arlen said.

The Bee’s Cafe++ features an open-kitchen format – which allows diners to watch their meal being prepared from the bar. The restaurant will offer indoor table and bar seating and very limited seating on the sidewalk outside.

The plus symbols in the restaurant name stand for “plus catering and plus private dinners,” said Alvarez.

The Bee’s Cafe++ is located at 3315 Northgate Boulevard in Suite 9. Discounts for active duty and retired veterans as well as first responders and educators with ID. (916) 475-4362

The Alvarez family outside The Bee’s Cafe++. / Photo

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