About Caffé REL

In a world filled with high-style fusion dining, food trucks, and chef challenges, sometimes all you crave is the comfort of a classic dish that transports you to happier times while still offering a dash of excitement. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Caffé Rel, a charming bistro nestled into the side of a gas station in Franklin, NC.

Where Classic Meets Culinary Adventure

Welcome to Caffé Rel

At Caffé Rel, we’ve been defying convention for over two decades. No reservations and no waiting area may seem unconventional, but it’s all part of the magic that keeps our loyal patrons and adventurous diners returning for more.

Our multi-page masterpiece menu is a testament to the restaurant’s Founder and original Chef, Richard E. Long’s passion for French and Italian cuisine. From the moment you sit down, you’re treated to a warm welcome in the form of our famous tomato bruschetta, a tantalizing preview of the robust and rustic flavors that await you.

Picture a thyme-rich blue crab bisque, a symphony of flavors with shallots, garlic, and leeks generously enriched with butter and cream. Or imagine mac and cheese elevated to new heights with a nutty Gruyère sauce and the subtle rosemary infusion. Homemade crisp potato chips and a refreshing cucumber-mint yogurt dipping sauce for lunch accompany our standout lamb burger.

Chef Long’s culinary journey began with Swiss chef Otto Indemauer, who nurtured his talents and recommended him for prestigious culinary programs. But the heart of his culinary inspiration came from his Belgian grandmother’s kitchen, where he learned that time and love are the secret ingredients to exquisite meals.

While Caffe Rel ownership has changed, the restaurant has retained the quality and traditions Chef Long created when the doors first opened in 2003, sticking to the original motto, “It’s About the Food.” Chef Long was a saucier extraordinaire, and he always insisted on the finesse of good sauces, emphasizing the use of fresh cream and butter while keeping sugar at bay, a standard we continue to exemplify today.

Our menu is specifically curated to encompass Long’s haute cuisine background while also being affordable. We believe a bistro should cater to all budgets without compromising taste. Each dish is prepared a la minute, ensuring freshness and flavor in every bite.

Step into Caffé Rel, and you’ll discover more than just a restaurant. Our eclectic décor, adorned with antique cameras, musical instruments, and cherished memories, tells the story of the person behind the place. But the food completes the narrative, leaving an indelible mark on your taste buds.

Caffé Rel is more than just a dining experience; it’s an unexpected gem tucked away in an unusual location, serving up French classics with a touch of magic. We welcome you to join us for lunch and dinner and experience the unforgettable taste of Caffé Rel. Just remember, we don’t take reservations, and there’s no waiting area. But trust us, it’s all worth it.

Don’t leave without trying our legendary chocolate cake, a sweet ending to your unforgettable meal at Caffé Rel. Discover the charm of Caffé Rel, where timeless flavors meet culinary innovation.

What Our Customers Are Saying

Based on 1268 reviews
Arctic Ghost
Arctic Ghost
September 17, 2023
I would give them 10 stars if I could. I admin a local foodie group here in Franklin and today was our day to go to Caffe Rel and all I've gotta say is OMG everything that I had or saw come out was amazing. Everyone in the group loved what they had. Big thanks again to everyone at Caffe Rel. If you're coming to visit Franklin I highly recommend you stop in.
Jackie Simms
Jackie Simms
September 13, 2023
I haven't been in several years but I love this restaurant and I'm planning to go again soon!
Christina Sancken
Christina Sancken
September 7, 2023
Delicious food, attentive staff. Will return and recommend to anyone traveling through Franklin!
Mixed up Outdoor Adventures
Mixed up Outdoor Adventures
September 5, 2023
This is by far the best good in Franklin. Well planned and prepared. Delicious.

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Get IN touch


(828) 369-9446

459 East Main Street
Franklin, NC 28734

Visit Us

Great Food in a Gas Station
We are located next to the Hot Spot Gas Station


Tuesday Dinner 4pm-8pm




OPEN Wednesday-Saturday 11am-8pm