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Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:40 AM

Here's one of the best breakfast spots in Chicago. We arrived after 9 a.m. on a weekday and the always-open Tempo was still bustling with what appeared to be mostly local diners (see the review). That's a zucchini and tomato omelette above and, like most of the egg dishes here, the mammoth serving comes atop potatoes, in a gleaming skillet. Below is the Poor Man's Skillet, which is great hash browns mixed with ham, green peppers, and onions, topped with cheddar, mozzarella, American, and Swiss cheeses, and three eggs:

Orange juice is squeezed here,
light-bodied Greek toast comes with made-here marmalade,

and meals begin with that only-in-Chicago ritual, a prune and wedge of orange.

Where did the prune/orange tradition begin? It's very odd but you'll encounter it before breakfasts all around The Windy City.


I am pretty sure that the prune/orange tradition was started by Lou Mitchell.
Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 4:48 AM

We love Tempo Cafe and just ate there again over Easter holiday weekend. How long of a wait did you have? We were able to walk right in around 8:00, but there was an hour for a table by the time we left.
Posted by buffetbuster on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 7:22 AM

Lou Mitchell! That's the first place we encountered the prune with orange. Funny how these things catch on and become regional signatures.
Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:18 AM

No wait at all.
Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:20 AM

I love the turkey and swiss omelet with greek toast. We actually discovered this place on our first trip to Chicago about 10 years ago thanks to roadfood and have been back countless times. We've never been disappointed.
Posted by hatteras04 on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:38 AM

Better than Lou Mitchell's? That is saying a lot. Their cheese & apple omelet is one of the best I've had anywhere!
Posted by ayersian on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:49 PM

Hey, Chris, who said it was better than Lou Mitchell's? Actually, Jane and Michael were huge Lou Mitchell's fans at one time. Lou died, and after that they seemed to have no use for Lou's at all. Their last reviews of Lou's were, uncharacteristically, quite negative. We didn't get to Lou's for the first time until the post-Lou era and we enjoyed it. (But Tempo IS better than Lou Mitchell's.)
Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:10 PM

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