FOX 32 NEWS - President Obama only spent a few hours in Chicago last night delivering his farewell address. But he couldn't resist some home cooking.
The president made a quick stop at one of his favorite Hyde Park restaurants, which was still buzzing on Wednesday.
When you're president of the United States, you can eat pretty much eat wherever and whatever you want. But instead of high-end pricey cuisine, President Obama grabbed some chow at Valois.
Gianni Colamussi is the manager of Valois, a Hyde Park cafeteria-style diner that's been in business since 1921 and just happens to be one of the president's favorite restaurants, going all the way back to his days as a community organizer when he held meetings at a corner table.
FOX 32: Back then he could walk in and nobody would bother him, right?
"Correct. Then it was no problem. He'd come in, sit down, he's just another customer,” Colamussi said.
Those days are long gone. Hundreds gathered outside the restaurant on East 53rd Street Tuesday night as word spread the president was coming.
"He came in and we were excited to see him. He's happy. He walked in and said 'hey hey!' It was like your buddy just walked in who'd been gone for a decade,” Colamussi said.
The president said he wanted to give his farewell speech in Chicago because this is where it all started. He told Colamussi he wanted to eat at his restaurant for the same reason.
"He said it just made sense when he was thinking about where to eat. He said it just made sense to do it here because he spent so much time here,” Colamussi said.
And if it's good enough for the president, it's good enough for visitors like D'maria Monday of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who came to Chicago for the president's speech.
"This is where he had dinner last night,” Monday said. "I had to check it out. Had to come take some pictures."
After all that setup and preparation, the President was actually running a bit late and had to take his meal to go. He actually ate it in the back of the limo on the way to McCormick Place.
"He grabbed the baked chicken with Greek style potatoes and spinach and took it home with him, from what I understand he ate in the car,” Colamussi said.
So, will President Obama return as a citizen?
"I went up and shook his hand and said thank you again. Don't be a stranger. Don't forget to visit us when you're in town. And I don't think he will,” Colamussi added.
The restaurant has a sign listing the president's favorite meals, topped by steak and eggs. But the manager says his last few times in, President Obama has been eating healthier: egg whites and turkey sausage.