Busy Bee Deli & Imported Foods in Merrillville, Ind., packs more than 1,000 products into its cozy space. You’ll find all things Greek, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Polish, Hungarian and more. In addition to imported groceries, there are four blue-and-white-checked tables for noshing inhouse (and two additional al fresco tables).
Greek lemon-rice soup (avgolemono) is offered daily, along with fabulously priced Greek half-chicken with rice dinner for $2.99 and souvlaki (pork kebabs) with house-baked bread also for $2.99. Such a deal! But there’s so much more to love here — gyros, American sandwiches, grilled Italian or Greek sausage (loukaniko) sandwiches, panini, grilled cevaps, saganaki (opa!), octopus salad, grilled halloumi cheese, tzatziki and hummus with pita, pastitsio, mousaka, barbecued lamb on Saturdays. Oh, the list goes on. And if you don’t see it, ask and they can probably make it for you.
A huge deli meat case features Polish ham or smoked turkey for $2.99 per pound, head cheese and Genoa salami for $3.99 a pound, smoked meats, bacons, and other luncheon meats galore. You’ll find imported (try the halloumi from Cyprus) and domestic cheeses, and fetas from Greece, Bulgaria, France, Cyprus and others. And the selection of olives and olive oils is enough to boggle the mind.
And the pastry case is a treasure trove of homemade delights. Artisan breads are baked off every morning and you’ll find savory pastries like spanakopita (spinach-cheese pie) and tiropita (cheese pie). On the sweet side, there’s the requisite baklava and kataifi (shredded filo dough pastry) but also galadoboureko, koulourakia, kourabiedes, melomakarouna, ergolavi (almond-filled cookies). Tortes can be special ordered and the freezer case features kolaczki, filo dough in 4, 7, and 10 thickenesses, and strudels by Dorothy (the famous region strudel maker).
There’s a lot to love about this place, especially the piped-in Greek music (I felt like dancing or breaking plates or both!). But amenities include pastries by the tray, catering menu, fresh produce, seldom-seen salted fish and Greek coffee!
Busy Bee Deli has graciously shared this Greek Lemon-Rice Soup recipe, also known as avgolemono, with my readers. Enjoy!
Busy Bee Deli and Imported Foods
Address: 15 W. 80th Place, Merrillville, IN 46410
Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays