Having the POTUS dine at your restauarant must be a rush — but also a major hassle. How, exactly, does it work?
According to a story in the Washington Post, it's all about maintaining a semblance of calm for the First Couple — while dealing with the security. Oh, and you don't get much warning.
On the day of an outing, a small Secret Service detail might show up (in the morning, for lunch; in the afternoon, for dinner) to do a walk-through with the restaurant manager, choose a table and inform the manager if other tables will be needed for Secret Service agents. About an hour before FLOTUS and/or POTUS arrive, 20 to 30 more agents appear. Next comes the motorcade, which, in the president's case, includes police motorcycle and sedan escorts, armored limos, multiple black Suburbans and assorted vans, an ambulance and more police cars and motorcycles. The first lady's motorcade is shorter.
Other diners get searched. And Secret Service also haunts the kitchen, which has got to be disconcerting. It's lower key when it's just Sasha or Malia, who apparently favor the kid-friendly eateries of Top Chef's Spike Mendelsohn. The parents, meanwhile, are apparently good — but not lavish! — tippers, and don't take comps. That said, it's all worth it for the word-of-mouth factor: reservations go way up after an Obama dinner, although because people are hoping for a repeat or just want to follow in the great man's footsteps, is unclear.
The Mission At A Restaurant Where The Obamas Dine: Remain Calm. [Washington Post]