President Has Lunch in New Britain

The president will be in Connecticut to push his minimum wage proposal

Café Beauregard in New Britain has only been open for three months, but they had a major milestone this afternoon. They fed the President of the United States. 

President Barack Obama made an unannounced stop a for lunch at the restaurant, along with Gov. Dannel Malloy, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Obama made the lunch stop before heading to nearby Central Connecticut State University in New Britain today, where he will speak about his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. 

Rob Chiovoloni and his wife, Alice Bruno, own the restaurant and Obama asked them what was good.

They responded, "everything."

The president ended up ordering a Korean beef sandiwch and chili.

Before heading to lunch, Obama shocked the crowd on Main Street, including some people who were still in the barber chairs at Courtside Cuts Barber Shop.

Gervais Barger, of Plainville, was seated in a chair at the barber shop when he heard a commotion outside at lunchtime.

"They started seeing the motorcade, and we came outside," Barger said as he stood outside, still wearing a smock on the cold day.

Barger said he had never seen a president before.

"Not in person," he said. 

Tracy Gonzalez, who said she works in the emergency room at New Britain Hospital, was inside the barbershop with her husband, Jose, when Obama came by to shake hands with people who were outside.

"I was maybe 10 years old when President Reagan came to Miss Washington's diner in the 1980s," she said.

"Part of the reason we are here is, we have a group of Democratic governors here in the [northeast] that are committed to making sure that work pays," Obama told the reporters gathered. "We were just talking to the owners of this establishment who pay their employees more than the minimum wage because, as the owner put it, he knows what it's like to work all his life and he understands that if people are working hard, they shouldn't be in poverty and that we should be able to do everything we can to make sure that happens."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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