Michael Katz worked with the Shaker LaunchHouse to develop a novel business concept that would combine a super-fast Internet network with a high-quality soup and sandwich shop. The name “Byte Cafe,” he thought, nicely captured both aspects of the operation. Well, he’s achieved half of his plan.
“We’re still working on the network part,” he admits.
Katz opened Byte last summer in the Tyler Village complex (3615 Superior Ave., 440-289-9604, bytecafecle.com), in the space previously occupied by Pulleys Café. It’s a small, out-of-the-way spot that is starting to see some higher traffic. At first, says Katz, his clientele was comprised mainly of Tyler Village folks. But now that word is spreading, he is enjoying a much wider audience.
“I feel that there is a real lack of healthy, fast-casual options around town, especially in the Midtown/East Side neighborhood,” he says. “In other cities, you can find places like this on almost every corner.”
Every morning, Katz makes the rounds to Stone Oven and Souper Market for the soups and breads that comprise the backbone of his menu. The deli meats come directly from Dietz & Watson. Sandwiches like the Desperado ($8.50), thinly shaved turkey breast, bacon, avocado, cheddar, honey mustard and tomato on multi-grain bread, can be enjoyed warm or cold. There are vegetarian options, like the California ($7.50), with tomato, red onion, cucumber, carrot, radish and cream cheese. Those join classics like tuna salad, turkey club, and a summery Caprese sandwich. Everything is made to order.
Two soups of the day – French onion, lobster bisque, classic clam chowder, rustic chicken noodle – come straight from the nearby Souper Market commissary. They’re served with a hunk of good quality bread. Crisp, fresh salads and a handful of sweets round out the right-sized menu. Byte is one of the few retail outlets for Old City Soda, which is crafted right down the block.
Next up for Katz is a second location, this one back at his alma mater LaunchHouse. There, he’ll finally have that blazing fast network that was always part of the plan. His long term goal is to install Byte Cafes in area hotels, hospitals, and airports. Until then, you can find him at his bite-sized shop in Tyler Village.
“I just want to provide a transparent, good-quality product,” says Katz.