Marconi is a name that is synonymous with hospitality in Sault Ste. Marie. The Marconi Cultural Event Centre has been in existence for over 100 years. It was originally created to help foster Italian culture in the community. Today the centre welcomes all cultures and nationalities to their event and restaurant facilities on Albert Street West.
Now, the centre has a new offering—a chic new restaurant offering innovative Mediterranean cuisine. At the helm are two experienced Canadian chefs who were born and raised Sault Ste. Marie.
"We decided to incorporate a new dining experience called Tempo Mediterranean Restaurant within the centre," says Adam Majic, General Manager of the Marconi Cultural Event Centre. "It respects the old traditions but with a modern twist, offering Mediterranean-style cuisine.” Majic started working for the centre in February 2020 and set out to modernize the business. His background is in the restaurant and hospitality industry—he's earned a hospitality diploma from Sault College and a Business Administration Degree at Algoma University. “I have worked in the industry my whole life.”
Tempo replaces the previous buffet set up. The dine-in restaurant seats 60 and features an open kitchen that enables patrons to watch the chefs while they work. “The restaurant opened in August 2020 and so far, the reception from everyone has been fantastic”, says Adam.
Mediterranean-inspired cuisine provides opportunities for a large mix of authentic tastes, aromas, and seasonings. All regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea provide inspiration for the innovative menu—Italy is one of those countries, but there are so many more including, France, Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Algeria, and Libya. For the Tempo chefs, the vast Mediterranean region gives them the freedom to create cuisine their diners love.
local chefs at the helm
Dan Gauthier is the co-head chef along with Brennan Cumming. Both men grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and attended chef training at Sault College. Dan received his Red Seal and worked in Quebec for several years as a sous chef at different restaurants, learning his craft. Brennan worked in restaurants in Ottawa, Calgary, Alberta, and Squamish B.C. Both also worked in the restaurant scene in the Sault. I asked what brought them back to the Sault. They both agreed: there’s no place like home.
tempo's menu is locally-sourced and changes with the seasons
Tempo Restaurant has a pre-fixe menu, with unique dishes that are created nightly by the chefs, and includes shareables like Roasted Rapini with Parmesan, Lemon & Chili Oil, or House-Made Falafel with Fennel Salad and Shaved Asiago. In addition, there are main dishes like Moroccan Bavette with Baba Ghanoush & Crispy Onions as well as delicious seasonal soups and desserts like Warm Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Curd & Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Sorbet. Since the menu changes regularly, patrons can go online and discover what's on offer at any time. Check out a sample menu here. Reservations are available online as well.
“Because we change our menu seasonally, we can look to see what is available and ready during the season locally, and build our menu around that,” says Chef Dan. Chef Brennan adds, “We are very interested in working with other chefs in the area to present theme nights with different cuisines.”
A highlight of local Algoma producers and businesses Tempo sources from include:
Algoma Produce Auction, Findlay’s Fungus, Penokean Hills Farms, Marshall Farms, and Valleyfield Farm. If they can’t find what they’re looking for from area producers they will go to local family run retailers like Bruni’s Fine Foods and Meat the Butcher. Thomson Farm Winery and Cider wine is on the menu while their jams are available for sale at the takeout counter. Outspoken Brewing and Northern Superior are two local craft breweries also represented on the beverage menu.
safe dining protocols are in place at tempo
As with many local restaurants, Tempo has adjusted the way they do business around Covid-19 concerns. All staff wear face masks and diners are expected to wear them unless eating or drinking. The dining room has been set up for social distancing—dining “pods” have physical barriers separating the tables and there is extra cleaning and sanitizing. “We feel these measures make it very safe for our customers to come out and enjoy a meal,” says Adam.
Adam, Dan, and Brennan’s enthusiasm and passion for this new venture in Sault Ste. Marie, was demonstrated throughout my interview with them. They’re excited to bring a new dining experience to Sault Ste. Marie and showcase what our local terroir has to offer. Tempo means “time” in Italian and it’s fantastic to see this historic Sault cultural hub embrace these modern updates, while respecting time-honoured traditions.
450 Albert Street W. Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 1C3
Open Mon – Sat 11 AM – 10 PM (Lunch 11 AM – 4 PM, Dinner 4 PM – 11 PM)
@tempossm (Facebook and Instagram)
To book your reservation online click here.
Takeout is also available.