Cassandra Ayala had been a real estate agent for 25 years when the market crashed. She saw it as an opportunity to reinvent herself. She wanted to go into business with her three daughters, and the four put their heads together to decide just what business. Olivia and Alexandria were vegans; India was an award- and scholarship-winning culinary student. They would open a vegan restaurant! And since they were all fun-loving and imaginative, they would serve junk food, fabulous dishes that keep even the most steadfast carnivores coming back. The four women established the Bumbling Bee Vegan Junk Food & Burger Bar. They chose the bee because it’s so small that it seems insignificant, but many bees working together can make a huge impact on the environment. Without bees pollinating food crops, the delicate balance of our ecosystem would be destroyed. Likewise, the Ayalas are a part of the worldwide plant-based movement that is making a difference by benefiting animals, the environment, and our own health.
The Bumbling Bee began as a food truck in Virginia Beach, Virginia, then expanded to a cozy, friendly restaurant with counter service and chalkboards filled with clever and catchy sayings: “Kale ‘em with kindness,” “Good Thymes,” “You make my heart skip a beet!” Their next expansion was to Boulder, Colorado, where they were welcomed with open arms. Both locations have food trucks, Daisy and Dixie, for special events.
Menu for Bumbling Bee Vegan Junk Food
One thing that makes people hesitate to adopt a vegan lifestyle is the anxiety thinking about giving up the foods they love. The “Bee” menu has comfort food favorites that are 100% vegan and will satisfy any “junk food junkie.” A few of the offerings:
- Montreal Chickun Gyro
Greek marinated Gardein* chickun on grilled flatbread with creamy garlic tzatziki, juicy and crunchy tomato-cucumber-red onion mix and romaine.
- Joey Meatballs Grinder
A grilled roll stuffed with vegan meatballs, Italian red sauce, and vegan ricotta drizzled in edamame basil pesto.
- Godfather Sizzlin’ Sausage
Juicy, sweet Beyond* sausage loaded with caramelized peppers and onions, marinara, house cheese sauce, finished with spicy aioli and stuffed inside a grilled bun.
- Irishman Corned Beaf
Honest Pastures* corned beaf with caramelized onions, whole grain mustard, melted cheese on toasted pumpernickel swirl bread.
- Boss Barbecue Burger
A Beyond burger topped with seitan*-marinated bacon, onion rings and barbecue sauce.
- Bella the Beast Poutine
Hand-cut fries topped with house cheese sauce, French’s fried onions, and rich Poutine gravy- mushroom blend, sweet onion, fresh thyme, and red wine, all caramelized together.
- Fried Mac Balls
Creamy mac and cheese coated by crunchy French’s fried onions and jalapenos, served with your choice of sauce.
Sweet Nectar Milkshake made with soy- and oat-based soft serve.
Vegan Benchtop beer
* Bumbling Bee Uses Only Quality Vegan Ingredients
Cassandra and her crew are happy to be a part of cruelty-free cooking and source their ingredients from tried and true resources. Here we have a brief “primer” for some of the references on the menu.
- Gardein is a vegan and kosher product line of meat-free foods that include proteins (soy, wheat and pea), organic flours (kamut, amaranth, millet, quinoa), potato starch, modified vegetable gum, organic beet fibers, and carrot fibers. Among their products are the “Ultimate Plant-Based Burger,” crispy chick’n, meatless meatballs and breakfast saus’ages.
- Beyond Meat’s mission is to positively impact human health, climate change, natural resources and animal welfare by shifting from animal to plant-based meat. Their Beyond Burger is made from pea, mung bean, and rice to deliver a complete protein, meaty taste and texture that provides the juiciness and aroma of beef.
- Honest Pastures in Virginia Beach manufactures and distributes quality plant-based alternative meats, including deli slices, sausages, beaf steaks and roasts.
- Seitan is made from wheat gluten that looks and feels like meat when cooked. It comes ground, sliced and in strips for use in meatless hot dogs and bacon.
It has been difficult for the Bumbling Bee during the coronavirus crisis with the closures, restrictions, reduced seating, no dine-in, delivery only, and supplier and staff shortages, but they are “worker bees.” Olivia runs the Boulder location, India runs the Virginia Beach location, Alexandria keeps things going behind the scenes, and Cassandra flies back and forth between the two locations.
The Bumbling Bee Vegan Junk Food & Burger Bar was voted best new vegan restaurant in Boulder and best vegan hot dog.