Business

Corner café: ‘A little something for everyone’

A tie-dye Volkswagen van is parked across the street from Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Café and its owners, who also own the café, can be found in tie-dye chef’s hats.

But Volkswagen vans and tie-dye are not the only motifs to be found inside the quaint neighborhood restaurant. Not by a long shot.

“There’s a little something for everyone to relate to,” said Heidi Yoxsimer, who co-owns the café with her husband, Lowell.

That includes a disco ball in the restroom, a personal favorite of Heidi’s.

“I always say you’ve got to check out the restroom when you visit,” Heidi said. “It’s terrible when you go someplace that has a bathroom you don’t want to go into.”

A Thermos “museum” lines the walls, the office includes hula girl doorway beads, the tables are a library of Popular Mechanics magazine pages from the 1950s and 60s, and self-serve coffee gets people talking in the mornings from a counter found on the back of, yep, a Volkswagen van’s rear end that comes out of the wall.

All in all, the mix is intended to be a lot of fun. Rick Callen, who took his family out for their first visit to Hi-Lo’s Tuesday, thinks it succeeds.

“I’ve had a good time here,” Callen said. “The food was good and everyone has been friendly and wonderful.”

The Yoxsimers, who have been going simply as Hi-Lo for years now after plenty of confusion over a mouthful of a surname, have been collecting ideas and preparing to open a place since 1993. Hi-Lo’s became the realization of that when it opened Feb. 15.

“We’ve both been in food service since we were old enough to work,” Heidi said. “We went up and down the West Coast hoping to find a town that needed something like this.”

They concluded Bremerton was it after falling in love with the city’s affordable and character-rich Craftsman-style homes and “real” people, she said.

After considering a coffee shop for their location, they came around to what they have today.

“’Real. Good. Food.’ That’s sort of our motto and our mission,” Heidi said. “’Good cooking, coffee, conversation’ That’s what it says on the sign (above the kitchen). That, too. We want people to be able to ... interact and get together.”

Good food, the café’s customers have decided with their stomachs, means dishes like the “moon biscuit.”

“(Heidi’s) brother and I came up with them, putting biscuit powder in a Belgian waffle maker to make our biscuits,” Lowell said. “We call them moon biscuits because they have craters. People have just been going goo-goo for them.”

Customers also have taken to the community feel. Poulsbo-produced Grounds for Change coffee is on tap and “Beautify Bremerton” T-shirts are for sale with the proceeds going to fund upkeep efforts at nearby Haddon Park.

“We just want people to be comfortable here,” Heidi said.

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