A not so well kept secret can be found nestled in Traverse City’s Warehouse District. Xylo Bistro Café is coming up on its one-year anniversary in its current form. Matthew Walheim (Head Chef), Magdalena Bagi (Pastry & Dessert Chef), and Tom Grant (Manager) have created an atmosphere of good food, good people, and a good vibe. A meal at Xylo can be almost anything you want it to be. Matthew laughs about the menu, “It’s all over the place.” They offer an eclectic blend of some old time favorites mixed in with some really unique dishes from around the world.
The laid back atmosphere of the Warehouse District really helps to highlight the comfortable climate that is evident at Xylo. The wait staff is friendly and inviting, all decked out in tie-dye. Not only is the staff prepared to offer awesome service, but also the food is spectacular at great prices. Customers are able to enjoy the perks of a fine dining experience in a cozy setting. Tom explains, “The staff has a really good relationship.” That is apparent in the high level of customer service, and copious amount of smiling at Xylo. Go ahead and get to know the staff through their blog, and see the fun they are having.
Almost twelve years ago, Matthew started Silver Tree (Suttons Bay), which evolved into Silver Tree Deli (Grand Traverse Commons). He and Tom decided that it was time to create a restaurant where they could really try new things. The name was a tough task, but it is named after a Greek town and essentially means “the place where you find the wood.” It is a play off of the evolution from Silver Tree, and Matthew laughs, “It sounded cool.” The two express how the restaurant is about the food and the people, and about very little else.
Most of the food at Xylo is from local growers when the season is right, and they really try to utilize Michigan distributors. Once the food gets to the restaurant is when the fun really starts. Between Matthew and Magdalena, there is a lot of experimenting going on. Matthew explains, “We really don’t like to waste anything.” That means a certain amount of ingenuity goes into their food creations. Matthew has done a considerable amount of traveling, and he tries to make foods the way he’d like to eat it. For Xylo, that means Matthew does a lot of, “playing around with different recipes.”
Some of the most popular dishes at Xylo are the Thai Noodles and the Chicken Paprikash. Customers have been so enthusiastic about the Xylo Tom Gai, that sooner than later that dish is going to be added to the menu full time as well. Whether it’s a great burger or Thai food, or an amazing Gluten-Free Brownie To Die For (speaking from awesome personal experience), Xylois ready to exceed your expectations. Customers become fast regulars, and everyone has their favorites. Tom smiles, “We’re all family here; that what it boils down to.”
If it isn’t the unique location on the river in the Warehouse District or the excellent food that draws you in, Xylo showcases some really awesome art as well. The space is free for local artists to showcase their work. Both Tom and Matthew seem really supportive of local work, and they even allow some of their staff show off their work. Everything about Xylo speaks to its comfortable, supportive reputation. Matthew smiles, “Everyone exceeds expectations once you get down here.”
It was truly a pleasure spending time at Xylo Bistro Café. Make sure to find them in the Warehouse District, check them out online, read their employee blog, “like” them on Facebook, or “follow” them on Twitter. They are worth finding. ~Joanna Dueweke, Regional Director