The Short Version
Beyu Caffe (pronounced be-you) is a combination of four business models – coffee shop, restaurant, bar, and live music venue – successfully wrapped into one unique business concept. We offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner with an all-day menu (excluding breakfast until 10:30AM) and also a special brunch menu on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Our coffee and espresso drinks range from locally roasted brewed coffee and traditional coffee beverages (i.e. lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, etc.) to both specialty and signature coffee beverages (i.e. Oprah Mocha, Caramello Macchiato, Pumpkin Spice Latte, etc.). We also offer non coffee beverages such as herbal teas, chai lattes, and bottled sodas.
Beyu Caffe 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 acts. We have had the privilege of having several notable artists perform at Beyu Caffe including Grammy Award winners, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, and John Brown; Grammy Nominated artists such as Caroline Malachi and Nina Freelon; and several well-known local artists.
The Full Version
The Early Years…As the Founder of Beyu Caffe, I was once told that every great business generally has a magical story behind it…
The true start of Beyu Caffe is traced back to over 7 years ago while I was working as a financial advisor in New York, 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 the entrepreneurial spirit to create Beyu Caffe was born.
Now, I wasn’t 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 the book of a lifetime, 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 Beyu Caffe 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 restaurants and businesses since the age of 15; thank you Subway and Chic-Fil-A for hiring this high school teenager! 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 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, and so the name Beyu Caffe (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 his dream into action. Not knowing exactly where to start to open Beyu Caffe, 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. Now, there are millions of coffee shops in New York City, 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. 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 Caffé in the company’s name.
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, working as 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 Beyu Caffe. More importantly, this work experience helped me to clearly write my business plan while defining how Beyú would operate.
The creation of Beyu Caffe has always been about creating a place where people could just be themselves. It’s my personal belief that my progress so far in planning Beyu Caffe 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 Beyu Caffe 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.
With faith and hard work we hope to create a wonderful addition to Downtown Durham, North Carolina. Wish us luck & join our mailing list to stay updated…
Dorian “DJ” Bolden
Founder & Manager