Service and Atmosphere
XYZ the Tavern, situated on Detroit in Gordon Square, is the younger, trendier sister of Ohio City’s ABC the Tavern. Usually a happening dinner spot, XYZ the Tavern magically transforms on Saturday and Sunday mornings from upbeat bar to chill brunch spot.
XYZ the Tavern serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Seeking to avoid the large crowd brunch usually draws, we got up early and arrived at XYZ the Tavern just after 9:00 a.m. Perhaps due to the lack of other diners, our server was attentive and pleasant, especially considering it was first thing on a Saturday morning. Our drinks were put together quickly, and our breakfast came out just as fast as I would expect for brunch fare.
A definite upside to visiting XYZ the Tavern are the surrounding free parking lots; empty spots can usually be found even on busy Friday or Saturday nights. The side patio is also an undeniable perk of this hip tavern; it’s a great place to grab an evening drink from the large draft list or to test a few samples from the massive whiskey menu.
Mimosas and bloody marys are the perfect excuses to consume alcohol before 11:00 a.m. and XYZ the Tavern manages to make some tasty ones. At $6 a pop, I cringed a bit before ordering a classic mimosa, champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice, but one taste after it arrived and I easily forgot all about the price tag.
If you’re a whiskey drinker, be sure to stop at XYZ the Tavern for a look at their huge selection–with well over 50 choices on the menu, from the simple to the unusual, you’ll surely find something new.
For the beer drinker, XYZ the Tavern doesn’t disappoint either. With over 20 rotating draft choices and a decent selection of bottles, finicky beer drinkers should be pleased to find brews from Fat Head’s, Dogfish Head, Crooked River, Cellar Rats, Victory, among many others.
Seeking something on the lighter side, I opted for the XYZ Breakfast ($5) which consisted of two eggs; toast; choice of potato, grits, or fresh fruit; and choice of bacon, sausage, or canadian bacon. I ordered my eggs scrambled, which was a good choice: they were light and fluffy with a simple dash of salt and pepper. The wheat toast was perfectly crisp and coated in a generous slathering of butter, and the side of fresh fruit was a large portion of cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, and a few scattered chunks of pineapple. The fruit was indeed fresh, and every bit as delicious as the cooked portions of my meal.
The French toast ($6) was also a winner: three thick slices of Italian-style bread were cooked to a warm, crisp perfection, then sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a side of real maple syrup. While it may sound like a modest portion, don’t be deceived: those three slices were more than enough to satisfy most appetites!
XYZ the Tavern’s brunch menu offers up other breakfast usuals like eggs benedict and corned beef hash, but the more adventurous eater should be just as satisfied with the choices. Some of the menu’s unusual options inlcude a smoked salmon croissant and a grilled falafel wrap.
Didn’t get up in time for brunch? That’s okay, head over to XYZ the Tavern for a “serious slice” of their tasty New York style pizza. A slice of cheese will run you $4 and is literally 1/4 of a large pizza. Add some toppings (as many as you want!), and it’s still only $5 for a hunger-busting slice.
I’m still amazed by the quality of food and the reasonable price for XYZ the Tavern’s brunch. The breakfast food is simple, but in a good way: nothing fancy, just tried-and-true favorites that please almost every palate. For the quality (and quantity) of food you get, XYZ the Tavern has got to be one of my favorite brunches in Cleveland.
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