Tempo Café

Review by: Michael Stern

On an unlikely corner of Chicago’s Gold Coast, just blocks from the swankiest shops and hotels in town, Tempo Café is a 24/7/365 coffee shop that serves working class food at affordable prices. Cops especially seem to make camp in the capacious booths, to which waitresses relentlessly bring coffee refills for bottomless cups.

Tempo is best known for its way with eggs. Omelets are huge and beautiful, served in silver skillets on wooden trivets. Special combos include the Michigan, which is cheddar cheese and diced Delicious apples; the State St. (broccoli, ham, mushrooms, tomato), Jamaican (banana, walnut, honey), and the Greek (feta, tomato, onion). The eggs and their filling are the top stratum in the skillet; below them is a thick layer of crunchy, crusty potato disks worthy of a good steak house. On the side comes a plate of Greek toast, which is thick and spangled with sesame seeds; and to dress the toast you get a globe of sweet butter and a ramekin of fine-cut marmalade. Before breakfast is served, everybody gets a single pitted prune and a wedge of orange. Nice rituals!

Breakfast is served round the clock, but if you come to Tempo for another kind of meal, there is a full menu of sandwiches, hot dinners and stir fries. In addition to good coffee, the beverage list includes lattes and vegetable juices.

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM

What To Eat

Skillet Omelet

Ham & Eggs



Tempo Café Recipes


What do you think of Tempo Café?

One Response to “Tempo Café”

Gabrielle Lynch

December 21st, 2006

I just visited Chicago for the first time and was recommended Tempo Cafe by the doorman at my condo. Very glad he did.

By the time I walked to the restaurant there was a small crowd outside. Inside was full and there were about 20 people waiting for tables. While the tables were being emptied quickly, two chairs opened at the four chair counter and my Mom and I grabbed those.

We were presented with the prune and orange slice and glasses of water. Our waitress was quickly there and we placed our order – ham and cheese omelette for me and eggs and bacon for my Mom. Our order was at our table in six minutes!

Along with the wonderful toast and fabulous orange marmalade, I also ordered a small OJ. Had I known it was going to be freshly squeezed, I would have ordered a larger glass. Literally fresh, you order a glass and they put the oranges in to juice – it was like I was back in Southern California enjoying the OJ from the tree in our backyard when I was growin up. Thought I’m not a coffee drinker, my Mom is, and she thoroughly enjoyed their coffee (3 cups!)

You just have to stare at the skillet when it arrives to take it all in; you try to fathom how you’re going to eat it. Full of ham (and not tiny tidbits either) it was fantastic. And the hash browns underneath were another surprise.

I cannot wait to go back and enjoy some more meals at Tempo Cafe.


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