Good, clean and fair food. It’s the official slogan of the Slow Food Movement. Tempo Bistro To Go, a sandwich shop at 1516 NW 13th St., is embracing the mantra in big ways.
John Drum and Debra Pour opened the eatery in November 2010 with a mission to provide the community with artful combinations made from simply good, local ingredients.
Almost all of the produce at Tempo Bistro comes from local farms, and the sandwich bread is brought in fresh from local bakeries.
Tempo Bistro has also built a strong relationship with Gainesville Compost and makes an impressive claim of almost no food waste. Even the flatware and packaging is corn-based, compostable and biodegradable.
Behind the restaurant, a pallet herb garden hangs artfully on a concrete wall and hosts fresh basil, oregano and rosemary, which go directly into the dishes. Due to an accident in the outdoor compost bin involving a sprouting rogue seed, wild calabaza plants dominate almost half the yard area.
In the spirit of fall, Tempo Bistro further embraces the Slow Food Movement by incorporating local calabaza pumpkins from Possum Hollow Farm into its fare.
One special, the Sweet Corn and Calabaza Soup, trades a traditional cream base for vegan-friendly coconut milk. Small chunks of sweet yellow corn permeate the velvety broth and mingle with earthy flavors like onion, garlic and cayenne pepper. It fills you to the brim with hearty warmth and finishes with the subtle taste of lingering pumpkin.
Another seasonal special is the Aztec Tempeh Calabaza Chili, which is thick with slow-cooked black beans, local tempeh from The Tempeh Shop, fresh-cut veggies, cocoa, espresso and a full bottle of Blue Moon pumpkin beer. After an essential four and a half hours in a slow cooker, the chili fully assembles to salute autumn’s savory supremacy.
On Nov. 1, Tempo Bistro will introduce the Lowcountry, a southern-style sandwich.
It begins with a puree of pumpkin, beets and local honey spread on top of wholesome multigrain bread.
Next, vegetarian collard greens, local tempeh, fresh tomato and creamy goat cheese are added in layers to create a balanced sandwich with a morsel of each flavor in every bite.
Tempo Bistro believes slow food takes time. But when fresh, local ingredients combine with delicious and interesting flavor profiles, it’s well worth the wait.