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Dorian Bolden: Envisioning Durham 2.0

Estimated Read Time:
4 min

A local entrepreneur who is passionate about food, coffee, community and dope vibes.

Posted By Natalie Minott on Nov 02, 2022

Music has a way of breaking down walls and meeting people in their joy and pain through different circumstances. Some albums earn a spot on our favorites list because they define a significant moment in our life. Some albums are unforgettable soundtracks to a specific season. Other albums are nostalgic, triggering memories from the past.

If Durham were to create an album encompassing the last 150+ years, it would be rooted in a legacy of rhymes that channel various cultures, challenge the status quo, and champion the community. There would be songs dedicated to the tobacco industry, the Hayti District, Black Wall Street, and activists like Pauli Murray; it would probably be a mixture of jazz and die-hard, head-banging rock anthems.

From its official birth date in 1869 until today, Durham has grown from a small village to one of the largest cities in North Carolina. Known as the City of Medicine, it’s been making headlines for its advancements in health care as well as its celebrated food scene, top-notch universities, buzzing startup culture, award-winning sports teams and dynamic art scene.

The construction on street corners throughout downtown show the changing landscape of the city and the new era of the Bull City. While many of the core themes from the “original album” are the foundation of what Durham is today, there’s another album, Durham 2.0, in the works.

“It’s time to drop a new volume,” said Dorian Bolden, owner of The Beyú Group, which includes Beyú Caffè, Beyú Blue, Beyú RTP, and Beyú Catering. “I want people to see the vision and feel the energy of Durham and all it encompasses today.”

Dorian, a Duke University alumnus, started Bolden’s Heart & Soul signature coffee blend in 2008, opening his first cafe a year later. In 2016, he moved the cafe to its current location on Main Street in the heart of downtown. With a prime location, welcoming atmosphere, unique menu options, and supportive team, it’s no surprise his first restaurant blew past its first-year projection by 70%. His empire continues to grow, having opened a location on Duke’s campus and at Boxyard RTP in the last few years.

Before opening Beyú Caffè, Dorian was a financial advisor in New York. In 2004, however, his life unexpectedly changed course with the loss of his father and a sudden merger at his company. Though he survived the merger, he knew those back-to-back events were a wake-up call that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Not long after, he left Corporate America and followed his own entrepreneurial dreams to the Bull City.

Combining his love for coffee, food and community, Beyú Caffè – the ultimate community gathering place where everyone can “be you”— was born. The name and idea stem from his lifelong experiences in various social and cultural settings whereby he believes that we all have more in common than we do differences.

Beyú Caffè is unlike any other spot in Durham. Surrounded by shades of teal, yellow, and burgundy with pleasant reminders to “be you,” it’s a sophisticated and welcoming space for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

With breakfast all day, the menu doesn’t disappoint either. Fuel up on a dirty grit bowl (grits topped with seasoned black beans, pico de gallo, and sour cream), or a baddie burger (an Angus beef patty with smoked bacon and cheese, and a homemade Cajun sauce).

Grab a bag of freshly-roasted Beyú Coffee with new Durham-inspired packaging or order from the stacked coffee menu with favorites like the Oprah mocha (espresso with dark chocolate, white chocolate, and steamed milk) and the auntie hazel (espresso with hazelnut flavor and steamed milk).

If Durham had an album, Dorian, who has lived in Durham for years, would have memorized every song. As a visionary, someone who sees the full picture and collaborates with others to help bring it to fruition, he saw what was stirring up in Durham years ago on a walk throughout the downtown loop with Carl Webb, a local developer and one of the leading influencers behind Durham’s growth today.

While Durham somewhat reminded Dorian of larger cities like New York and Atlanta (but with a Southern vibe), he didn’t, however, understand the disconnect – the separation of Duke University from downtown Durham. There seemed to be separate pockets of creativity and brilliance scattered throughout the city.

“I could feel the underbelly of potential in the greatness that was happening here,” said Dorian, “I knew that it would sound so dope if it were fully let out of the cage.”

He saw it then, and he sees it now – there’s no place like Durham.

When he opened up Beyú Caffè in the heart of downtown, he was stepping into all the possibilities, trying to add to the dopeness that was already lit on Black Wall Street among Black entrepreneurs.

When asked what makes Durham beautiful, Dorian replied, “I love Durham’s authenticity. It doesn’t feel the need to be like anyone else.”

Dorian built his whole cafe around the idea that magic happens when people are free to be themselves (be you). Whenever Durham drops that next album, it will have dope beats about authenticity, and it will unlock something in all of us. Durham 2.0 will also have a range of songs and genres that encompass the heartbeat, culture, talent, brilliance and vibe of the Bull City. In addition to jazz and head-banging rock, it will probably include hip hop, country, blues, gospel, rap, and even K-pop with elements of Latin culture and spoken word throughout.

The next time you travel, stop by their newest location at RDU International Airport, one of several restaurants offering food through a new ghost technology concept by REEF Technology. Follow Beyú Caffè on Instagram for the scoop on two more locations opening in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 in the next few months. Visit one of the Durham locations for food, coffee, community, and good vibes, and as Dorian would say, remember to be you.

About the Author

Natalie Minott - Freelance Writer

A mother and writer who loves celebrating people and telling their stories. Find me rocking colorful headwraps, singing Disney songs, and drinking too much coffee.