Since its 2015 grand opening, Rendezvous Cafe in Lakeland Plaza has made its mark on the local dining scene in Forsyth County, acquiring a loyal clientele in less than a year.
The eatery, owned and operated by husband and wife team Eric and Fafa Young, has an expansive coffee menu, healthful cuisine and a warm, continental feel that is hard to find elsewhere in the area.
“The cafe sort of took on a life of its own,” Eric Young said. “Here we are and things are going really well. If you track our progress since we’ve opened, our customer base has steadily grown and we won the [Best of Forsyth Best Coffee Shop 2016], which we didn’t expect at all.”
The couple first had the idea for a coffee shop business years ago when they were living in California, where Eric Young was in the film and television industry and Fafa Young was working as a chef. Due to the intensity of Eric Young’s career at the time, owning a business was put on the back burner for the two.
“At that time, I was working in the film and television business and owning a cafe was out of the question — it was a seven day a week job,” Eric Young said. “It was very, very labor intensive and I was in charge of managing a yearly budget of about $25 million. It wasn’t a job that allowed me to consider something else.”
After Eric Young’s job took the couple to New York City, the couple realized that Manhattan life and weather were not for them and began to consider relocating to somewhere other than Los Angeles or New York City.
Inspired by some friends who were living in John’s Creek, the Young’s traveled south to visit — and liked what they saw. Soon, the couple moved to Forsyth County and was reconsidering the idea of owning a cafe.
After finding the right location for the business, they opened Rendezvous Cafe at 543 Lakeland Plaza in September of 2015 with Atlanta-roasted Batdorf & Bronson coffee and a menu handcrafted by Fafa Young.
“We wanted it to be the sort of place we love. Something slightly European, something that feels like home and something that feels independent,” Eric Young said. “It’s a place where you can come and get really good coffee and really good food at a reasonable price.”
The quality of the coffee and food served at Rendezvous is a major factor in the cafe’s success. The hand-made baked goods, entrees and more combine to form a menu unique to the Forsyth County area.
Each Batdorf and Bronson coffee drink at Rendezvous is crafted individually. Drinks such as the Chilly Goat Frozen Frappe have freshly-prepared espresso in every serving and decaf options are also offered.
“We get our coffee twice a week,” Eric Young said. “When we get our coffee, Batdorf and Bronson have roasted it just the day before. Other places typically will not get their coffee only a day after it’s been roasted.”
The cuisine at Rendezvous has just as much individual focus as the beverages. Fafa Young develops recipes that mix flavors and bakes assorted in-house pastries daily, with some gluten-free treats provided.
The most memorable item on the Rendezvous menu is their specialty treat — hand-made French macarons. The macarons are kept chilled and feature a number of flavors and creamy fillings, such as chocolate with caramel filling and rose water with raspberry filling.
There is a variety of sandwiches and salads also offered at the cafe, with choices like the Smoked Salmon Breakfast Panini and the Chicken Provencal Salad. The lunch menu includes an assortment of unique sandwiches and a soup du jour option.
“The thing that distinguishes my wife’s cooking and baking and from many places around here is the fact that she does everything really genuinely with love,” Eric Young said. “It’s as if she were serving this to guests at home. It’s not just a product that she’s putting out.”
Although perhaps a bit small, especially if the cafe’s customer base continues to grow, the space at Rendezvous Café is cozy and inviting to customers.
The eatery has comfortable seating, relaxing music and art and photography covering its walls. The feel is home-like and fills the need in Cumming for a central, local hang-out spot.
“It’s very relaxed,” Rendezvous employee Jonathan Pate said. “It’s a very comfortable place to work, there’s always a good ambiance, good music, good people. The people who come in start to learn your name. It’s just a really friendly community and it’s a good one to be a part of.”
Moving forward, the Rendezvous owners and staff want to build their popularity even more in the area. Their convenient location and quality menu make it a different dining option for Cumming and the cafe has the potential to become even more central to the community with more familiarity.
“It’s the type of place that we hope eventually will be a place that people think of as their second home where they can come and relax, kick back, do work, read a book and get away from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area,” Eric Young said.
For more information on Rendezvous Cafe, go to rendez-vous-cafe.net, or visit the cafe anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.