Home » Bars, Coffee, Restaurants

Beyu Caffe

Posted by MNT 21 Jan 2010 18 Comments


Beyu Caffe at 335 W. Main Street opened in downtown Durham on January 16th. The manager, Dorian “DJ” Bolden left his job in finance to start his own business, taking various positions as barista, bartender, line cook, etc. to gain experience. In encouraging him, his friends would say “just be you bro,” which morphed into the cafe’s name, pronounced “be you.” It’s wonderfully decorated with a large dining room cleverly broken in two by a lounging couch area. They’re open for all three meals, and closed Sundays. Jazz is the main entertainment focus, with the promise of poetry slams as well.

While the lunch service (order and take a number) might evoke Foster’s, the food was considerably better, though not outstanding and certainly not in the same class as its delightful neighbor, Toast. Beyu was packed on MLK day when we stopped in for lunch.  They offer some standard appetizers like hot wings and calamari, “pizzettes,” sandwiches, salads, pastries, and a wide range of coffee drinks.  The coffee is reportedly sourced from Stockton Graham & Co. in Raleigh. We didn’t try any of the specialty coffees, but the killer espresso that XOR ordered was a contender for best espresso in the Triangle, which we hope was representative.  Lunch entrees are reasonably priced, with most entrees around $7-8, bumping up to the $15 range for dinner.

We were intrigued by the first appetizer on the menu, Beyu Wings with “mocha java sauce” but were informed upon ordering that they had already been discontinued, so we stuck to the main courses on this outing.  For lunch, that means primarily soups, salads and sandwiches. sandwiche Sandwiches come with your choice of salad, fries, or a cup of soup. I had the Grilled Ham & Gruyere Cheese on wheat (croque monsieur), which was just that: no frills, not even mayo, or butter/margarine on the outside to grill. However, it came with some pretty good dijon-cheese sauce (on the side) that needed to be more mustardy…. still, a satisfying choice. I had it with fries, which had been sitting out a bit too long but were decent tasting otherwise. There was no ketchup on the tables, but the server was happy to bring me some.

po_boy2XOR had their Oyster Po’ Boy, which he liked, but opined that the standard sub sandwich bun format works better than the smaller Kaiser bun at Beyu. He also could have stood a little more sauce as well. We both liked his chicken and broccoli soup cup, homey and rich without tasting fatty, although Beyu definitely does not skimp on salt; this particular soup is not suitable for low-sodium diets. I thought it was too salty but XOR kinda liked it that way as a small but potent and slightly spicy serving.

We finished off our decadent lunch with the most original thing in the dessert case, a slice of Harvey Wallbanger cake, which was well above average. A heady citrus flavor dominated both the delectable buttercream icing and

hw-cake3the moist, dense cream-style cake. 100% fabulous. The desserts allegedly come from a bakery in Greensboro. I want to go back to try the Grand Marnier truffles (in the dessert case) and some fancy coffee drinks (the Java Peppermint Patte espresso concoction, specifically), and someone should report on their dinner, and bar, which I neglected to mention (alcoholic beverages after noon only!).

bar5As bustling as it was, we have a hopeful feeling that Beyu is here to stay, with its beautiful space, warm and inviting ambiance, outstanding coffee and above average food.

Beyu is open Monday through Saturday. Breakfast: 7 – 10:30am; Lunch: 10:30am – 5pm; and Dinner 5 – 11pm.

Beyu Caffe on Urbanspoon


  • Ralph Haygood said:

    I’m puzzled about the Beyu wings. I was there for dinner on Tuesday, a day after you were there, and they still had them. They must be unsure about them, though. Besides your experience, my waitress actually warned me I might not like them! I did like them, however. The sauce is really very tasty, a bit reminiscent of mole poblano, but minus chilies and plus coffee.

    I’ve eaten at Beyu several times, and I’ve found the food uneven, but the best of it has been excellent. For example, the roasted garlic soup they had on Tuesday was as good as any of the great soups I’ve had at Toast. Mr. Bolden seems very serious about making the place the best it can be, so I expect the food will become more consistently excellent over time.


  • klasshen said:

    I’ve visited Beyu twice and had two completely different experiences. The first time was for lunch. I had the daily special, a fried flounder sandwich with a side salad, and my husband had the oyster po’ boy with fries. My food was excellent, and my husband’s only complaint was the slightly skimpy amount of oysters on his sandwich. The service was very friendly and prompt. The second time we went at night for after-dinner drinks. We were seated by a hostess who told us someone would be over to serve us. After 15 minutes of waiting, a bartender finally came over and took our order. I ordered the Mexican Caffe with whipped cream, and my husband ordered the Beyu Caffeini. My drink was delicious but the bartender forgot to add the whipped cream. My husband’s cocktail was extremely weak on the alcohol and was served cold. Maybe we misunderstood the menu, but other cocktails indicated if they were served on ice or chilled and this one did not, so we assumed it would be a hot coffee cocktail. We would have asked for whipped cream for my drink and an explanation on the cocktail, but no one came back to check on our table. We had planned on staying for several drinks, but after waiting and waiting, we decided to leave. Just as my husband was leaving cash on the table for our drinks, the bartender showed up with our check. We were very disappointed in our last experience and hope it was due to the busy night (almost every table was full). We will definitely give it another try and hope for the quality and service we received on our first visit.


  • burgeoningfoodie said:

    Have heard really great things about the cakes. Hopefully the service and the food will take on a bit more personality and get better as the restaurant matures.


  • Sandra said:

    I’ve been to Foster’s and this place is nothing like Foster’s. We went to Beyu for dinner and we were seated like at any other restaurant and we had a waiter and everything. Are you sure you went there?


    MNT replies on January 21st, 2010 at 4:36 pm:

    Yes we were definitely there, but we had lunch. The lunch ordering process is about where the similarity with Fosters ends. Thanks for the clarification on dinner! Good to know.


  • cbrowninnc said:

    so is this alleged Greensboro bakery possibly hopefully Ganache?


  • Laura said:

    We went tonight and thought the ambiance was great and that it’s a perfect place to hang out and drink coffee or your beverage of choice, perhaps with a dessert thrown in, taking either your laptop or a friend, and that’s what many people seemed to be doing. The food was mediocre, which was disappointing given the dinner prices, especially with the much cheaper and better Toast just two doors down. We will definitely go back, but next time the plan is to eat at Toast, then shift over to Beyu for dessert and drinks, because one place has the delicious food and the other the nice atmosphere for hanging out. It was packed! Clearly a very popular spot.


    Robert Gordon replies on February 10th, 2010 at 4:44 pm:

    Agreed, Laura. I too appreciate the atmosphere at Beyu but find the food just so-so. I want to support the place, but until they realize they need to meet some minimum taste requirements in order to compete in the Durham restaurant scene, I’ll just hang out there after eating somewhere else.


    KW replies on February 22nd, 2010 at 2:50 pm:

    Same opinion. When I sat down and opened the menu and saw the prices I immediately thought “Wait, I’m still in Durham, right?”.

    The dinner is subpar. Small portions, big prices, not great quality. After dinner options is where the place shines. Really liked the Mexican Coffee I got. Really liked the cake we got, which was a far better deal than any of the dinner options. And a good jazz ensemble started to play just when we were wrapping up.

    I’d suggest going to Toast and getting an amazing dinner for under 10 bucks. Then come over to Beyu for coffee, dessert and live jazz. Best of both worlds.


  • veronica said:

    My husband and i had lunch there. We ordered our food before we sat down. The atmosphere was nice and cosy. There service was friendly and prompt. It seems that people for different reasons were their having a good time. Our food was good. My only complaint was the soap was luke warm. i should have had them to microwave it, but it had good flavor and i was hungry. i agree that they were a little expensive for what you get. But i would like to go back and give it one more chance.


    TSQ75 replies on February 8th, 2010 at 10:05 am:

    the soap?


  • elpea70 said:

    This place saved me when I had jury duty back in December, and had a 2 1/2 hour break, and being unfamiliar with downtown Durham, had no idea where I could get some lunch and hang out. Fortunately I had heard this place had recently opened and decided to shuffle down Main St to check it out. I had a chicken salad sandwich on a croissant which was good, but would have liked more chicken salad on it. I also had the Mexican Caffe which was very, very good. Mr Bolden himself bussed the table next to me and I took the opportunity to speak to him about how grateful I was for this place and that I was sorry to be taking up a table for 2 hours! He indicated it was his vision for it to be a hangout type place, hence all the tables, and welcomed me to stay as long as I wanted! I made sure to grab some menus to take back with me to leave in the jury room. I revisited this place on MLK holiday and it was packed! Word got out, I guess! The Java Peppermint Caffe is good too. They are still learning how to make the coffees so I had to wait for a bit but it was worth it.


  • Suzanne said:

    My only experiences with food at the Beyu were appetizers (ok) and desserts (yum!). I find it a little chaotic, though, since you’re never really sure if you should sit and wait for a server to arrive at your table, order at the counter and stand there until your food/drink is ready, or order and go sit down. That being said, I’m still happy to have a nice place to hang out downtown and I hope the cafe continues to be successful.


  • BetsyBee said:

    I had lunch there today… I had the turkey Ruben special and was rather disappointed. I think I’d go back for coffee but not for lunch.


  • David Stein said:

    Maybe we were lucky or something has changed — our food was delicious and very imaginative. The salad special had, in addition to the usual leafy green things, strawberries, asparagus, chevre, and thin crispy fried leeks. The entree was also wonderful — pork chops in a pretzel crust with a large quantity of well-spiced vegetables. We’re definitely going back and bringing friends!


  • Sandra said:

    What I have had a great consistent experience with is the Breakfast Burrito. It is awesome and very filling. Perhaps a bit on the salty side but with a great chocolate coffee concoction such as the Eminem, the combination is a great way to start the day. I have found lunch menu inconsistent but trust that it will get better as the restaurant matures. I am happy that Mr. Bolden decided to open his restaurant in Downtown Durham. Oh yeah~ the prices are indeed a bit high for the area, but it is still a very nice alternative.


  • Gregory said:

    Wooww… Cafe Beyu seem very fun and interesting place. I really wanted to come and eat there. From see a few that food images shown, I believe the taste of food is very tasty. I hope I have spare time to come there with my family.

    By: Gregory


  • Dee said:

    The cold weather prompted me and a friend to meet up at Beyu last night for drinks and dessert. We usually go to Fullsteam/Bull McCabes/Dains on Saturday night so this was a departure from the norm. However, we loved it. The place was full of people of all kinds-a variety of ages-from a family enjoying dessert to a table of friends celebrating a 21st birthday, to couples enjoying dinner, guys enjoying a little banter at the bar, to two women catching up on life (us). The live music kicked in around 9:30pm, providing a little jazzy blues background to our conversation. Whenever you’re in the mood for a glass of wine, dessert, live but not imposing music, in a relaxed atmosphere, I highly recommend this spot.


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