Yuyu’s Cozy Corner building reputation as new Mediterranean cafe

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Fahes at the register inside Yuyu’s Cozy Corner located on West Main Street. Fahes is taking an early-morning coffee order after covering a shift for one of her employees.

Harrison Bush

Fahes at the register inside Yuyu’s Cozy Corner located on West Main Street. Fahes is taking an early-morning coffee order after covering a shift for one of her employees.

Yuyu’s Cozy Corner, a Lebanese-Egyptian-fusion cafe, opened on Main Street on Aug. 11 and planned to introduce a taste of Mediterranean food and culture to Norman in spite of initial financial difficulty.

The cafe is co-owned by a bank teller, Aya “Yuyu” Hamad and Mashhad Fahes, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma. Both owners merged their cultures and values to create an inclusive space that featured a menu crafted through handed-down, family recipes from both Lebanon and Egypt.

“I used to call my mother and ask her for her recipes so I could just cook it at home, but we [originally] never thought this would be a food industry,” said Fahes, marketing and finance coordinator for Yuyu’s.

After a little under three months of business, Fahes said she had difficulty budgeting the expenses and that Yuyu’s was not yet in a financially comfortable position. Her focus was tracking the input and output of the income as well as advertising for more business.

In the process of advertising, Fahes used social media platforms, but said she “hit a plateau” in marketing. She is taking steps to reach out to more potential customers to procure a reputation based on customer service rather than competitive pricing against other coffee shops.

“We tried to offer something that doesn’t compete with their [other coffee shop’s] products,” said Fahes. “We want a collaborative, instead of competitive, way of working. I don’t think at any level we wanted to attract their customers.”

Yuyu’s owners are working toward new additions, such as a delivery/carryout system, in the upcoming month for more convenience for their customers.

“It still feels great coming here, opening the door and walking behind the counter knowing that this is our place,” said Fahes. “This was just a perfect time to start our adventure.”