'We Only Cook Food We Like To Eat'
A Traverse City Bistro
Xylo's Employee-Driven Blog
231.421.9200Next Door to Inside Out Gallery
221 Garland St
"The Boardman River borders it to the south. A bumpy alley borders it to the north. An empty former microbrewery shares the converted warehouse space. And Traverse City’s core business district is around the corner and over a bridge, a block and a half away. Xylo’s location might sound a smidge obscure, but that tucked-awayness, that secret-world quality, is one of the key ingredients that lures people here. That and rich speciality coffees, pastries from an in-house pastry chef, an eclectic world beat menu and the warm surprise of a smart, inspired space. Xylo’s vibe is ideal for, say, finishing up a report beyond reach of office hubbub, tête-à-têtes over coffee, or gathering with friends or colleagues to hatch the next big thing.
Xylo’s eclecticism is expressed not only on the menu. Art on the walls ranges from landscapes to abstracts to pop art, the most dramatic piece being a close-up of an eye that stretches about four feet horizontally and is positioned center stage at the couchy conversation area. A rich gunmetal gray floor, foam green walls, and warm track lighting can make you wonder if you’re in an artful restaurant or in an art gallery that serves food.
A varied clientele comes in search of different things, says manager Tom Grant. Mornings, college students nurse a latte while tapping into the free WiFi. At lunch, business people, seniors, post-playgroup moms and yet more students seek foods from around the planet—Eastern European, French, American, Asian. (The biggest seller is Thai noodles.) Dinner draws all demographics.
“We cook only food that we like to eat,” says Grant. “Big portions for a little bit of money—we’re in the Warehouse District, so you gotta do what you gotta do.” Look for Xylo to get a liquor license in coming months.
For Grant, Xylo is fundamentally about making people happy. “My favorite moments are when we put a smile on somebody’s face. It’s not that hard to do and it’s what keeps people coming back.” “