Review: Beehive Restaurant and Saloon – Abilene

Today, I continued my trek around Abilene since I am partially immobilized due to the broken leg. I looked at a few places to visit and ultimately settled on the Beehive Restaurant and Saloon.

The Beehive Restaurant, as Abilenians know it, opened in the 1970s. Ali Esfandiary, an Iranian immigrant, who initially purchased the location on a handshake deal, was an enlisted airman in the greatest Air Force in the world…much like I am. I can appreciate his hard work and dedication. The Beehive is located at 442 Cedar St. in Abilene, Texas.

As I entered, the hostess opened the door for me since I was on crutches (which I hope to get rid of soon). I appreciated the helped, thank you. The hostess stand was right ahead. 

There was some seating available if guests needed to wait. I was welcomed and asked how many in my party. I replied, “one” and was given the option of bar or regular seating. The bar seemed like the happening location so I chose it. The hostess provided me a menu and wished me a good meal. 

The menu paid tribute to early 1900s Abilene. On the front page were stories from the Abilene reporter news with a little history of the location. For a full menu, click here

There were so many people having conversations and enjoying themselves that I felt sort of like an outcast. I found a seat at the end of the bar and was again welcomed to the Beehive by the two bartenders. There was room in the bar for approximately 40 guests. This included bar top, two-seat and four-seat tables. 

(pictures taken after most of the guests left)

Also, I did not get any pictures of the main seating area, but it was down this hallway.

The bar was bustling. I quickly ordered a Long Island Tea ($10), something that is synonymous with the Beehive. It is literally the only thing I have heard about the restaurant. The bartender poured a few different liquors in the drink…too many to count. I usually order drinks while I decide on appetizers/entrees. Does anyone else do this? In this case, I had “one” during my stay. Rating: 5/5 

Um, what am I supposed to do with this thing? It was the biggest, tastiest Long Island I have ever had. I then ordered potato skins as an appetizer. The skins arrived 10 minutes later. 

Potato skins ($9). Served with chives, cheddar, bacon, and ranch. I requested a side of sour cream as well. The skins were way different than any others I have eaten before. They were cut thin, but somehow not burned. I would have preferred to have the skins cooked a bit more. Something was off with texture, there was no crisp and borderline soggy. The bacon and cheese were the best part of the dish. Rating: 2/5

After messing around with the appetizer, I decided to ordered the salmon entree. The bartender gave me the option of fries, baked potato or a sweet potato. I asked about veggies or a salad and was offered grilled zucchini, squash or a vegetable medley. The vegetable medley sounded like the choice to make with the “Beehive” salad. The salad arrived exactly 2 minutes after I ordered, while the salmon arrived 12 minutes later. 

Beehive Salad. The salad consisted of greens, tossed in ranch with chopped egg, bacon bits and bleu cheese crumbles. There was also some onion, carrot and tomato slices to top it off. The salad was like a house salad got into a fight with a cobb salad. For that, it deserves an above average rating. I liked the thinking outside of the box on it. Rating: 3.25/5. 

Salmon entree $19 (+$3 for veggie medley). The salmon was supposedly cooked on a mesquite plank, but I could not taste any smoky flavor in it. The salmon was served on a lemon, dill, caper sauce and, guess what, I could not taste dill or lemon. The grilled, half lemon saved the dish and my visit. It added acidity and flavor that was missing. Maybe the lemon was supposed to be added to the sauce by the guest? The steamed veggies were ok. Rating: 3.5/5

Final Word

I went into this visit with low expectations for the Beehive Restaurant because I had not visited the place before. The other reason is because I do not trust other people’s word until I experience it myself. 

The food was average. That is it…nothing more, nothing less. 

The ambience at the bar top was that of a pub, which is something I liked. People were having a great time laughing, eating and drinking. The two bartenders were so nice and accommodating, even though they were really busy. I appreciated their spirit and attentiveness. They even removed the potato skins from my bill after seeing I only ate a small portion of them. 

I would visit the Beehive again, but my meal would include a burger. 

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