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.