Before her official welcome to Washington today, President Barack Obama took German Chancellor Angela Merkel to 1789 Restaurant, where they dined alone, having salad and beef tenderloin but no dessert, at the second-floor Wickets Room, June 6.
Dan Harding, general manager of 1789 and the Tombs, said that the White House gave them short notice of the special visit, calling at 4 p.m. for a reservation. Dinners for the two leaders were prepared by sous chef Erwin Rhodas, not executive chef Daniel Giusti, who was off for the day, filming a Food Network show in New York, Harding said.
The presidential motorcade rocketed along Prospect Street just after 7 p.m., as neighbors found nearby intersections closed by the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Countersniper team moved atop Georgetown University’s Walsh Building across the street from 1789 and the Tombs, and police dogs checked the sidewalks. A crowd gathered at 36th & Prospect with phones and cameras and waited for the president to depart.
Meanwhile, patrons continued to enter 1789 and the Tombs and were wanded by the Secret Service. Georgetown University students Saum Ayria and Chris Scribner, dining at the Tombs at the same time as the president, enjoyed the surprise. “What a Washington, D.C., experience — the president just upstairs.” Scribner said. As Obama and Merkel left around 9:15 p.m., Jennyfer Sellem, a lawyer from Paris interning at the French Embassy, snapped a shot of the leaders inside the limo as it raced back to the White House. “What happened yesterday evening has added to my amazing experience here,” she said.
The big state dinner for Germany is tonight at the White House.