The Short Version
Beyù Caffè (pronounced be-you) is a combination of four business models in downtown Durham, NC – coffee shop, restaurant, bar, and live jazz club – successfully wrapped into one unique business venture. Our restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts in addition to a special brunch menu on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Our specialty coffee and espresso drinks range from locally roasted coffee and traditional coffee beverages (i.e. lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, etc.) to both signature coffee drinks and coffee cocktails (i.e. Oprah Mocha, Caramello Macchiato, Irish Coffee, etc.). We also offer non-coffee beverages such as herbal teas, chai lattes, and bottled sodas.
Beyù Caffè offers a full bar ranging from bottled wines, craft beers on draft, and quality cocktails and martinis. We offer premium live jazz supporting both local artists and students, while also bringing in national recording artists. We have had the privilege of having several notable artists grace the Beyu stage ranging from Grammy award winners Branford Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, to Grammy nominated and national recording artists, Dionne Farris, Carolyn Malachi, Nnenna Freelon, John Brown, and Cyrus Chestnut.
Beyù Caffè has been fortunate to win numerous awards in addition to being recognized for several accomplishments.
- 2009 – 2010 Retail Business of the Year by Downtown Durham Inc.
- 2011 & 2012 Best Place to Hear Jazz in the Triangle by the Independent Weekly
- 2011 Top Restaurant Project by the Triangle Business Journal
- 2011 Emerging Business Award by the NC Institute of Minority Economic Development
- 2011 – 2012 Featured Company in the Small Business and Technology Development Center’s Annual Report for Chapel Hill and Durham
- 2010 – 2011 Featured Company in the Triangle Business Journal’s Project Survival Series
- Featured on NBC-17′s My Carolina Today (2011)
- Featured on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Weekend (2013)
- Featured over 25 times as a story in various publications including The Herald Sun, The News & Observer, Duke University’s The Chronicle, Durham Magazine, The Triangle Business Journal, and several online blogs
- 2010 Best Dessert by the Bull City Vegan Challenge (Vegan Chocolate Mousse)
- 2010 Best Appetizer Runner-up by the Bull City Vegan Challenge (Mixed Grill Napoleons)
The Full Version
The Early Years
As the Founder of Beyù Caffè, I was once told that every great business generally has a magical story behind it…
The true start of Beyù Caffè is traced back to 2004 while I was working as a financial advisor in New York City, only 2 years after graduating from Duke University (Go Blue Devils!). It was during this time when I reached what I considered a very low-point in my life. Simultaneously my father passed suddenly from this world, and the company I was working for surprisingly announced that it was going through a bank merger. The merger forced several persons to lose their jobs, many of whom were my very close friends, and two of whom were my personal mentors. Ironically, despite the string of bad luck, I was moving up with the company as a very successful and honest financial advisor; but, I just couldn’t escape the grave reality of life from my father’s death: tomorrow is never guaranteed! So on New Years Day 2005 I did the unthinkable and decided to take the road less traveled—own and operate my own business; and thus the entrepreneurial spirit to create Beyù Caffè was born!
Now, I was NOT completely crazy to just walk away from a paycheck. After all, there was one monumental problem—I had absolutely no clue as to what I wanted to do. So not knowing where to start, I did what anyone would do who’s a little lost or confused…I searched Google! I jumped online to do some research about entrepreneurship, and came across a book that changed my life, The McGraw-Hill Guide to Starting Your Own Business: A Step-by-Step Blueprint for the First-Time Entrepreneur by Stephen C. Harper. This book was magical (and a blessing) in a sense that it did not teach me how to start a restaurant or any other particular business, but rather to discover my own personal strengths and weaknesses, thus determining the best business suitable for me.
After reading the book and taking notes, I ended up putting the various components of Beyù Caffè together (i.e. coffee, wine, music, spoken word, etc.), although I didn’t really know it at the time. What came to mind most often were my experiences working for multiple retail businesses ranging from restaurants, movie theater, amusement park, grocery store, etc. since the age of 15! As cheesy as it sounds, I enjoyed the ability to make someone’s day brighter by offering a warm smile and great service; a sense of passing on positive energy to others.
A second critical element from my notes was my infatuation for a marvelous European coffeehouse in my hometown of Atlanta, GA. The experiences at this coffeehouse provided me with so many fond memories that I wanted to do the same for others; to create a unique concept whereby people could form new and cherished memories, all in a relaxed and warm atmosphere. With the help of two of my best friends, Edmond and Chris, who kept encouraging me in New York when I left finance by simply saying, “just be you, bro” which meant the answers would naturally come from walking my personal path; and so the journey of creating Beyù Caffè (again, pronounced be-you) was born.
The “I Must Be Crazy” Years…
Henry Ford said it best, “success comes before work only in the dictionary…”
In March 2005, while still working as a Senior Financial Advisor in Manhattan, I decided to put this dream into action. Not knowing exactly where to start to open Beyù Caffè, I decided to simply apply for a part-time barista position at a local coffee shop to get some experience. I must admit that I too enjoyed coffee and the occasional latté at major coffee chains, but you couldn’t classify me as the fanatic coffee lover I am today. There were a million coffee shops in New York City when I looked for a job, but till this day, I was blessed to stumble across the perfect European coffee shop on the Upper East Side, named Si Caffe which means Yes Coffee in Italian.
I still remember the job requirement to work for Si Caffe, “work experience not a necessity, a love and a passion for coffee is more important.” Till this day, that job requirement resonated most with me, and was also reflective of the business culture at Si Caffe. It was here that I met the owner, Natasha, who took me under her wings to learn both the coffee business and the importance of coffee while working for her. Coffee became more than just a simple drink to perk-me-up on my way to work, but rather a precious commodity that has been around since 300 A.D.; and whose process was equal to producing the finest wines. I began to understand the common Italian expression about coffee, an everyday luxury in a cup. It was my appreciation for both Si Caffe and the birthplace of espresso where coffeehouses became popular that Café was changed to Caffè in the company’s name with two f’s.
In July of 2005, I made the second big step after making a decision to be an entrepreneur. I left New York City, leaving everything behind except great memories, to be with my college sweetheart (now my wife) in North Carolina. For the next year, I worked as a full-time barista at a local coffee shop, while working part-time as a bartender. I then decided to work as a cashier for a popular restaurant franchise, and working my way up to a line cook, catering coordinator, and eventually an assistant manager, all in an attempt to learn how to successfully run and manage the various components of Beyù Caffè. More importantly, this work experience helped me to clearly write my business plan while defining how Beyù would operate.
The creation of Beyù Caffè has always been about creating a place where people could just be themselves. It’s my personal belief that my progress in planning Beyù Caffè is a direct result of various individuals helping me along the way by simply being themselves. Those who know me know that my passion for creating Beyù Caffè is not about my own self interests, but about creating a positive venue for the community and a positive work environment for our future staff members; it will hopefully be a cherished memory for others along the path of life. Thus our mission:
To be the ULTIMATE community gathering place where our passion for great atmosphere, great experience, and great service, will allow each guest and employee to Be You
With faith in God and hard work, I hope to create a wonderful addition to Downtown Durham, North Carolina. I hope you decide to be one of our loyal guests. Join our mailing list to stay updated…
Dorian “DJ” Bolden
Founder & Manager