Chefs and Owners Tempo Restaurant, Serge and Wendy Albert

Serge and Wendy are part of an amazing love story. She was one of the East Coast’s first female executive chefs when she took the reins at Portner’s Restaurant at 109 S. St. Asaph Street in Old Town. Serge was cooking his chef hat off while running the kitchen at the old Terrazza Restaurant. They fell in love, bought a house in the West End, had a son, then looked around and saw an old gas station at the bottom of the hill.

Wendy hails from California by way of Chicago. She was cooking at a restaurant there in the late 70s when her food got noticed. Two wealthy restaurant owners offered her jobs—one in Key West, the other in Alexandria.


“I had heard of Key West but never of Alexandria,” Wendy said. So she asked a psychic friend to read her tarot cards. “It came up Key West, no question,” said Wendy. “But my friend wiped all the cards off the table onto the floor and said, ‘I don’t care what the cards say. You need to go to Alexandria!’”


And that’s how she got to Old Town in 1979, working for the Hamburger Hamlet company that owned Portner’s. Wendy dug in and made Alexandria her own. She became one of its earliest promoters. Wendy’s community involvement prompted the City to ask her in the early 80s to head up the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Visit Alexandria). “I was glad to help put Alexandria on the map, but I wanted to do it through my food,” said Wendy.

“We took it down to the studs, but that’s the best way to build a restaurant. We made it like we wanted it,” said Wendy. The big windows, tall ceilings, bright white walls and tablecloths have been the perfect backdrop to their exceptional cuisine. “People were taking pictures of their food long before Facebook and Instagram came along,” said longtime patron Lucelle O’Flaherty, who has been a regular customer since the beginning.


Over the years, Serge and Wendy have won many awards for their outstanding food and have been recognized as business leaders as well.

  • Founding members of the West End Business Association (WEBA).
  • Prominent Chamber of Commerce ALX members, winning Small Business of the Year in 2008.
  • Business Woman of the Year 2006.
  • Alexandria’s Small Business of the Year 2008
  • Winner of the Environmental Leadership Award of Restaurant Management 2010


Let look at a lovely reviews about Tempo restaurant

Every Dish will have You Dancing! – by Debby Critchley

Our meal began with a collection of cold and hot appetizers. The Carpaccio is a plate of slice tenderloin on a bed of garlic vinaigrette, capers, and parmesan. Words like light, delectable, tender, and flavorful come to mind with each bite. The Salmon Gravlax is a worthy competitor composed of house cured, dilled salmon served on a chilled plate with thinly sliced red onions. The flavor is exceptional. The rich salmon flavor belies the freshness and quality of the salmon. Could I love the Calamari Salad more? The rings of calamari are firm yet tender, just the slightest bit of chew. The lemon dressing was the perfect foil to the seafood – so good that we sopped up the remaining dressing with a piece of bread. Hot appetizers also excel. Wendy said the Oysters Rockefeller would be the best we had ever eaten and I have to agree.

Serge updates his mother’s recipes with offerings such as Capelli d’Angelo Napoletana made with very thin egg pasta topped with tomato, garlic, and basil. Vegetarians will love it. The Linguine “Frutti di Mare” is enjoyable dish of linguini with seafood in a light tomato sauce. You can satisfy meat eaters with favorites such as Scaloppine di Vitelo Marsala with fresh mushrooms and marsala. Or, try the Scaloppine di Vitello “Rosa” with tender veal cooked with sweet red peppers, garlic, oregano, and tomato. You’ll find the classic Steak Diablo on the menu featuring a New York Strip steak with black pepper and whole mustard seeds. The seasonal specialty menu offers a variety of dishes including pasta, seafood, and meat. It’s soft shell season so look for the Molecche all’Erbe with two jumbo soft shell crabs sauted in a shallot-butter sauce with fresh herbs.

Vegetarians can delight in the fresh mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes with basil or the asparagi all’ Agro – fresh asparagus in a light vinaigrette. The Asparagi Parmigiana features that same as


Tempo offers a nice selection of wines both by the glass and by the bottle that will complement your meal. Wendy chose a flavorful Pinot Noir to accompany our meal. There is also a full bar menu available including a wide selection of beers.