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Caffe Rel


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459 E Main St
Franklin, NC 28734 (Map & Directions)
Phone: (828) 369-9446

Menus People Viewed Nearby

Caffe Rel ($$)
French, Sandwiches, Salads, Pasta

Bowery ($$)
Seafood, Steakhouse, American

FATZ Cafe ($$)
Southern, Comfort Food, Bar

Willy's Ribs & BBQ ($$)
Barbecue, Chicken, Ribs, Burgers

Additional Dining Info

No delivery

Cash & Local Checks/ ATM in Gas Station

Parking Lot

Good for Kids


Beer and Wine


Price Point
$$ $ - Cheap Eats (Under $10)
$$ - Moderate ($11-$25)
$$$ - Expensive ($25-$50)
$$$$ - Very Pricey (Over $50)


Outdoor Seats


Mon-Tues: Closed, Wed-Sat: 11am - 8:30pm, Sun: Closed

Restaurant Description

Caffe Rel (Richard E. Long) is French cuisine with Pasta, Sandwiches & Sauté. Casual dining, all day/evening menu. Homemade cake/desserts & Latte. Salads & NY style deli sandwiches. Wine license only. No Reservations, take-out.

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Top Reviews of Caffe Rel

review_stars 02/09/2017 - Gail Cross
We stopped for lunch on the recommendation of friends as we drove to Waynesville. What a pleasure to find such a jewel in an unexpected location. This place is amazing. The food selection is interesting and our choices were delicious.We will be stopping there again soon.

review_stars 01/26/2017 - Vickie
When we started building our mountain cabin in Franklin, we were told to try Caffe Rel. Now it is our favorite place to eat!!!! We come here every time we come to our place in Franklin....LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! The food is wonderful and the deserts are to die for. All our friends that come visit us, end up eating here....Never a bad meal, wait staff is great...the owner is nice and the cooks are #1 !!!! Can't say enough about Caffe Rel.....just try it !!!

review_stars 11/02/2016 - Sharon
I have been to the Caffe Rel twice and will be returning again SOON. The food is wonderful, it is seasoned to perfection (The Crab Bisque is superb) the presentation of all the food served is artfully done. The staff on both occasions were attentive, courteous and very nice. There are plenty of options for children, the servings are plentiful so you can split a dinner between them. And the desserts - were wonderful. We took ours home.
Yes, the fact that they take cash only is inconvenient but the do accepts checks. But, I understand as the additional cost to those who take credit cards ranges from 3 to 4 % which adds more costs to restauranteurs.
Going there tomorrow with my sister and so looking forward to sharing the experience with her.

review_stars 04/25/2016 - Alan F.
Every time I go to our cabin in Highlands I make sure to go here to eat. It is my favorite restaurant period! I have been going there for years and the service and food are always so wonderful! I am a regular so maybe my experience is a little different than someone else that has never been there.
I think the prices are extremely reasonable for such cuisine. The fact that they only take cash probably helps keep the prices down. I have never been anywhere that has such a unique menu. I am getting hungry just thinking about it.
It may not be for everyone but every time I go there it is very busy and I see a diverse collection of fellow diners that seem to feel the way I do about Caffe Rel. I can't wait to go to the cabin and get to Caffe Rel!

review_stars 11/13/2015 - David
One of my top favorite restaraunts of anywhere! Never had a bad meal here. Food is always high quality, fresh, and very tasteful. You won't be disappointed. This place stays very busy, so have some patience, and enjoy the food!

review_stars 11/10/2015 - Hobie Jones
Excellent restaurant. Been here many times and have NEVER experienced bad service or anything but an outstanding meal. I highly recommend Caffe Rel. Unpretentious and operated by someone who obviously knows the fine food business. Fairly priced too.

Hobie Jones
Clayton, Georgia

review_stars 11/08/2015 - Harold Hill
The food is excellent but the dinning area is really cold the food gets cold before you can eat it.

review_stars 10/22/2015 - Phil
Mrs Hilliard. Have you eaten at Caffè Rel? How could you spend $150 for lunch for four. 6 of us ate there for diinner, with dessert and drinks and spent less. And the food was awesome. I will eat there any time I have the chance.

review_stars 08/08/2015 - Robert P
Have eaten there many times over ten years, and NEVER had the bad service highlighted in some reviews. Slow sometimes, never rude. And remember folks, it is a FRENCH restaurant. Isn't that the way of ALL French waiters??

review_stars 11/06/2014 - Jeanette
I've ate there several times, each time I ask myself"why"!!! Why do I pay to be treated like I'm a bother. I feel rushed through every meal. I actually yelled to the waitress after many attempts!!"carrot cake please" she never asked anyone else at the table if they wanted dessert" then I get reprimanded because we decided to split the check. ". Seriously!! They try to act like a five star restaurant with an adjoining toilet to a stop n go!! Get over yourself!!

review_stars 11/05/2014 - Kim
I love this place because their food is great. However, they have the worst customer service ever. The wait staff treats you as if you are a bother. They are in such a hurry that they don't meet your needs accordingly. The owner is a total jerk who acts like it is the best restaurant ever, then makes it known that he really don't need your business. They are not a kid friendly restaurant. They don't have high chairs or booster seats. They obviously don't want kids there. But I love their food. Sad!

review_stars 11/28/2012 - W Turchyn
Amazing find in the mountains. I live an hour drive away, my wife and I plan on dinning here often. Very attentive waitress, excellent menu, quality food and service. Cost is more than reasonable. My wife can't stop praising the menu choices, the taste of her Lobster Bisque, or the dessert. Very, very well done.

review_stars 09/02/2012 - Lauren
Menu posted is the lunch menu only. The dinner menu is considerably more elaborate and amazing!

The food here is incredible and unmatched. The owner does not appreciate pretentious people, pushing tables together, ignorant people, and children.

However, the food is completely worth ever bit of it! Last time we went there was a 45 minute wait and no room to wait inside. He brought out a cooler of bottled water as we sat on benches outside and checked on us frequently. The sous chef keeps everything running smoothly and the quality of the food is perfect.
The menu offers some very 'french' dishes but I would encourage those with a sense of adventure to try them as they are divine. The bisque and snails & tails are the specialties. My favorite pasta is anything with the cajun cream sauce (last time it was over trout).
A must eat!

review_stars 06/07/2012 - J Walker
We where sent there by are host at the Guest House at Dogwood Ridge. I will tell you that we were all impressed with the food and it was a real highlight to are trip to NC. The food was excellent and so was the service. Always like when the owner takes an active role in his restaurant. Can not wait for our next trip to Franklin NC. Thank you for a memorable meal.

review_stars 06/09/2011 - Tessa Nelson
Food is awesome. Staff is very difficult to deal with. Not pleasant with takeout orders. Won't put tables together. Don't like children. Could be a 5 start restaurant, but these things make me stay away.

review_stars 04/08/2010 - Frank S
Caffe REL was recommended by two friends, great place, great atmosphere. We had an excellent server, very accomodating and friendly. Owner thanked us for coming when leaving. Also server provided a great article to read when I mentioned the recommendations we were given.
Dishes we thought were great were Crab Bisque, Sauteed Calamari, and a Linguini dish. Excellent dessert (chocolate cake). Would definitely eat here again when in Franklin, NC.

review_stars 01/24/2010 - Judy B
Ms. Hiliard, you really should go back and give this restaurant another shot. You never mentioned the food which in my humble opinion, would have erased any negative impression. What a delight to have authenitc French cuisine in the middle of the mountains. You are completely transported to a quaint European bistro as soon as you walk in. I have dined here several times both when it's been crowded and slow, and never experienced bad service or rudeness from the owner or staff. But never mind all that, because it's all about the food, which is why I always come back and recommend it to others.

review_stars 09/29/2009 - Gary Boyd
Me and biker buddies stopped there on a local recommendation on 9/11/09. Man, we were really surprised at the atmosphere, the food, and the reasonable prices. I do NOT understand the other reviewer who wrote of the rudeness of the owner. We all had a great time talking to him about his dishes, and in general. The staff there even commented on how they liked him. Now put yourself in our place...a buncha biker dudes that were probably not appropriately dressed come in for dinner - talk about an opportunity to be rude to someone...we had a great experience, the staff were great, and the entire evening was memorable. I rate this place as a real gem.

review_stars 06/01/2009 - Ann Hilliard
Food was "so-so"; owner was extremely rude both to myself & my 3 daughters AND to his staff. I heard him berating and belittling his staff. Once when he said, "What's the matter with you? Can't you read?" Again later, he said, "What's this &%^$?" They don't take credit cards and as I was standing to pay $150 cash for LUNCH for 4 (they don't take credit cards), he came to me and said, "You know you are VERY rude?" When we came in @ 1:30, there was no one waiting in line to sit. Sign read, "seat yourself" so we sat we proceeded to a table for 6. He said twice, "FIVE or MORE! FIVE or MORE!" We should have left then; However, not wanting to make a scene or embarrass my daughters, we waiting at the door and he came over and said, "You GIRLS are standing RIGHT in the MIDDLE of MAIN STREET." Of course we "girls" all professionally educated women with plenty of money ranging from the age of 32-54, were confused. [I have a Masters Degree in English,] finally figured out he wanted us to move. After we were seated by a server, he kept glaring at me and shaking his head. My daughter just kept saying, "Mom, let's get up & go to the pizza place across the street, or the Thai place down the road." An expensive lesson to an arrogant, egotistical tam boy!

review_stars 02/11/2009 -
My husband and I visited the cafe on a Saturday afternoon. The food was great and our server was very helpful and nice. We would go back there again. The blue crab bisque was outstanding.

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