Tucked away in an inconspicuous strip mall off of Saticoy Street and Louise Avenue is Humble Bee Bakery & Cafe.
Although the location is just as humble and quaint as the name lends to, the delicious menu and atmosphere created by owner Susan Rigali and son Jim Ponanno is worth bragging about.
It’s no surprise Humble Bee is a family owned business. As soon as you approach the café customers instantly forget you are feet away from a busy intersection and feel like you are being served a home-cooked meal in Rigali’s humble abode. The smell of fresh-brewed coffee and baking bread fill the air and guests are instantly greeted by Ponanno’s wife Jessica. She is one of the many family members who work at the location.
Waiter Carlon Assells, 26, has been working at Humble Bee for about two years and said it is the family that keeps him a happy employee.
“It’s a good family vibe. That’s 100percent what makes this place so special,” said Assells.
The cafe, established in 2012, prides themselves on making as much of their product as they can from scratch, serving locally grown and organic foods and avoiding GMOs whenever possible.
The personal touches like the 500 oranges squeezed every day for their fresh orange juice, the homemade tortillas and salsas as well as the always-changing Sunday brunch are just a few of the special details that keep the customers coming back.
If you are looking for a delicious and filling breakfast, be sure to order the breakfast burrito. Not only is the homemade tortilla delicious and sturdy, but the rustic skin-on potatoes, black beans and cheddar cheese will fill you up without weighing you down.
If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter, the Panwich is right up your alley. The dish consists of two eggs and two turkey sausages sandwiched between two pancakes and topped with maple mascarpone and julienned apples.
If you happen to pop in on a weekend, you most likely won’t recognize much on the menu because depending on what’s in season, the brunch menu constantly changes.
One of the regulars who have been coming since the cafe opened is Virginia Watts, 74. Watts, being a CSUN alumni and former staff member on the campus as well as a current member of the Northridge South Neighborhood Council, appreciates the family-friendly atmosphere the cafe has added to the neighborhood.
“It [Humble Bee] has even been mentioned in the council meetings about how great it has been for the community,” Watts said. “The food is excellent, the service is wonderful and the ambiance is just great. I bring the whole family here.”
Rigali takes pride in using organic and locally harvested produce whenever possible and visits famers markets at least once a week. Nearly all of the food used in the restaurant comes from various farmers markets around the city; from the Hollywood Farmers Market, the Encino Farmers Market and the Northridge Farmers Market to name a few.
Knowing where the food comes from and what has been put into it is a big concern for a lot of Humble Bee customers, like 41-year-old CSUN alumni Rook Andalus.
“At my age I have to be more conscious about what I eat, so it’s nice not to have to worry about where the food on the menu comes from,” said Andalus. “It’s always nice to see the same friendly faces greeting me when I come in; I like the family atmosphere.”
The location has been so successful that the family has been able to open a second business called Humble Bee Pie Pizzas and Pastas on Tampa Avenue. This new location was opened in 2015 and specializes in their delicious pizzas.
Humble Bee Bakery and Cafe is open Tuesday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for Saturday and Sunday Brunch from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and closed Mondays.
Address:17321 Saticoy Street Northridge, CA 91325