The Sleepy Bee Story

Where it all Beegan…

When Sandy started having children 30 years ago, local food sourcing quickly became an obsession. Whenever she travelled, she visited local and farm to table restaurants and wished that Cincinnati had one. During nightly walks in her garden, she was mesmerized by the bees, tucked under leaves and dozing. She loved their hard-working, community-focused mindset, and their critical global role as pollinators.

Uniting these passion areas, Sandy partnered with renowned Chef Frances Kroner to create Sleepy Bee in 2013.

Sourcing from farms and suppliers nearby, they created a delicious, wholesome and satisfying menu. From the brand design and iconic flower chandeliers to the thoughtful creations served daily, every part of the restaurant experience was carefully curated to celebrate the sublime magic of bees.

They were quickly overwhelmed by the excitement and positive response the restaurant garnered. As its popularity grew, so did the number of restaurants across the area.

Today, Sleepy Bee is still locally-owned and a Cincinnati staple, with families and friends gathering daily to enjoy nourishing food in an environment that embraces the beauty of its community.

Welcome to our HIVE.

“We had a lot of people say there is no way this is going to work. But we knew what we ate at home, and we followed our hearts.”

– Sandra Gross

Meet the Bees:

Sandra Gross

Co-founder & Creative Director

The Co-Founder and Creative Director of Sleepy Bee, Sandy is a passionate advocate for local food in Cincinnati. As an artist and educator, Sandy has always found inspiration in bees. She loved the way they supported themselves internally inside the hive and externally by pollinating plants and helping us all thrive. With each new location, Sandy enjoys connecting holistically with the neighborhoods Sleepy Bee serves. She loves being community driven like the bees in the hive.

Frances Kroner

Co-founder & Head Chef

Frannie is a proud Midwest Culinary School graduate with 22 years of restaurant experience. As the founding Chef of Sleepy Bee, Frannie spent the first few years fine tuning the recipes (sauce is her secret weapon of choice). The last few years she along with founding partner Sandra Gross and Emma Cotter, the Director of Operations and Sustainability, attained B-Corp status and developed HEXONOMICS, a model for holistic balanced business.

Our History

  • Opened Sleepy Bee Oakley
  • Prioritized sourcing from local farms and vendors
  • Had local art, furniture and more
  • Composted and recycled, including compostable/ recyclable to-go containers
  • Healthy, well-balanced menu
  • Opened Sleepy Bee Blue Ash
  • Started growing our own food, Tracy Street Gardens (2015-2019)
  • Opened our Commissary
  • Opened Sleepy Bee Downtown
  • Started bottling our catsup
  • Partnered with Open Door Culture, an organizational consulting firm
  • Began replacing gas equipment with electric as needed
  • Switched to 100% renewable energy
  • Carbon Footprint calculated
  • Joined Cincinnati 2030 District
  • Joined 513 Green: a sustainability certification that recognizes businesses that operate in an environmentally responsible way
  • Implemented internal $15 internal minimum wage and underwent and implemented a pay equity analysis and restructuring
  • Partnered with Calibrated Lens: a consulting organization specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Submitted our B-Corp application
  • Opened Sleepy Bee College Hill, our first natural gas-free kitchen (all electric and wood fueled)
  • Added a Director of Sustainability position into our Executive Team as part of our Regenerative Sustainability initiative
  • Officially became a certified B Corporation, meeting the highest standards for social and environmental performance
  • Hexonomics guide the way to a sustainable future for the hive!

More of Our Story

Our Farmers & Vendors

Learn More

Our BEEliefs

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