By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) President Barack Obama, looking relaxed and fresh in a royal blue shirt and tone-on-tone tie, stopped in at Jolly Pumpkin on his Detroit stop Wednesday.
It was a surprise lunch visit, staffers said, for the president who was in town to the tour the North American International Auto Show, talk to selected residents and business owners, and meet with Mayor Mike Duggan to talk about revitalization in the city. He was accompanied to lunch by the founder of Shinola, the mayor, an auto worker and a doctor who works on youth anti-violence programs.
Inquiring minds want to know: What did he order? Turns out it was a JP burger, with cambozola cheese, bacon and cremini mushrooms on a challah roll, plus fries, and a side salad (presumably to make Michelle happy). He washed it down with an iced tea.
Manager Jason Vandereyk said he found out about 20 minutes beforehand that the president was coming. “It was like I was telling some of the staff, when you come into work, you don’t expect this to happen. It was really neat. It was amazing.”
The president started off his visit by asking staff what on the menu was good. And he apparently approved of the choice.
“I delivered the food and that burger was gone,” Vandereyk said. “He enjoyed it. He actually met our kitchen manager who made it for him, and he did a photo op with him, which was cool.”
It was the surprise of a lifetime for the lunchtime crowd.
“Once the motorcade pulled up, I think when they saw him everyone was taking photos, videos and then everyone started applauding. He shook everyone’s hand,” Vandereyk said.
What did they talk about? No one’s saying. But whatever it was, Twitter users uploaded several photos of the president smiling broadly and laughing during the discussion. “It looked like he was just looking to have a nice bite to eat and catch some laughs. It makes us happy that he liked it here. Maybe he’ll return,” Vandereyk said.
He topped off the lunch stop by popping into Shinola next door, where Detroit-made watches sell in the $850 range. The president was pictured showing off his own watch, presumably a Shinola.
Jolly Pumpkin opened in Detroit in April with a casual menu of salads, pizzas and sandwiches. Beer is the star, especially the sour ales the brewery is known for. Detroit is the newest location, alongside popular spots in Traverse City and Ann Arbor.
Jolly Pumpkin is a gathering spot for suburbanites and upscale city residents near tony watch maker Shinola and popular Traffic Jam & Snug.