Hot Spot: Beyù Caffè

Hot Spot: Beyù Caffè

This unique cafe recently moved – just a few storefronts down Main Street – but its artistic atmosphere remains

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Beyù Caffè – pronounced “be you” – serves up more than breakfast, lunch and dinner. They’ve got coffee, cocktails, desserts and offer a relaxed co-working environment during the day and sweet tunes at night.

Beyu Caffe
Ellen Garguilo (right) chats with Dolly Bromberg, both of Durham, during Donovan Cheatham’s performance at Beyù Caffè on a Friday night. Photo by Briana Brough

“What started as an idea for a coffee shop with two guys on a stage playing the guitar as background music kind of morphed into this unique community institution that’s a live music venue,” says owner and founder Dorian Bolden.

The restaurant opened in December 2009 at 335 W. Main St., just a few storefronts from its new address, but “with the explosion and growth in Durham, it just got really expensive [to continue renting],” Dorian says. “So we made a decision to find a new location that we could buy to control our fate and really make sure we can be here to remain a part of the community.”

Beyu Caffe Donovan Cheatham
Donovan Cheatham (drums) performs with his quartet featuring John Palowitch on saxophone. Photo by Briana Brough.

The restaurant didn’t have to move far, and they were able to take the idea of a music-centered gathering space even further. The result is an open layout that feels intimate and a top-notch sound system that attracts artists like singer-songwriter Somi, who visited this summer.

On any given night – weekend or weekday – Dorian makes certain there’s a reason for folks to gather: Wednesdays bring open mic nights, Thursdays local bands. Enjoy jazz piano over eggs Benedict at brunch on Sundays. Mixed Tape Mondays showcase local DJs, and Tuesdays are reserved for local events. But by far the most energetic nights are Fridays and Saturdays, when those looking for an exciting night out come, sit, order dinner, a cocktail or two and listen to Beyù’s “heavy hitters” curated by Creative Director Cecily Mitchell of The Art of Cool Project.

Beyu Caffe Shrimp Grits
Beyù classics: shrimp and grits (front), beignets and a bacon cheeseburger. Photo by Briana Brough.

As far as menu offerings go, Beyù has a sizable list, which includes signature dishes from house-made beignets to pomegranate salads to pan-seared catfish over chipotle grits. “[The menu and atmosphere] allows a blend of people to come together and no one feel out of place,” Dorian says. “We feel that we are a true reflection of Durham. You come in here, and you see a rainbow of diversity. Our mission is to be the ultimate community gathering place.”

At a Glance

Draw
A casual coffee shop – with an extensive food menu of Southern classics – transforms into a laid-back jazz club at night, and there’s not a bad seat in the house.

Drawback
It can be tough to find a good place to park on West Main Street, and diners visiting on Friday or Saturday nights should expect a cover charge for the headlining entertainment.

Here’s a Tip
Going to a show? Purchase tickets online to ensure a seat.

Price
$2-$18

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Laura Zolman Kirk
Associate Editor Laura Zolman Kirk is a Kentuckian turned North Carolinian who can't get enough of this buzzing community.