Tutta Bella pizzeria makes special delivery for President Obama

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That sounded like an executive order to me, so before the next couple of trips he took out this way, I’d ping the White House to find out if there was a chance I could fulfill that promise. This time the same thing happened, but when they called on Wednesday, with what I thought would be bad news, they said the President wouldn’t be able to come to Tutta Bella, but we could bring pizzas to Air Force One.

What happened at the airport?

We started cooking at about 2:30 [p.m.] and delivered the pizzas at about 3:30 [p.m.].

The Secret Service saw three carloads of foods and so they brought out the dogs and did a sweep [of people and equipment] and let us go up to the belly of the plane.

We were greeted and escorted by the flight crew of Air Force One. They helped us unload the food and get it on the plane.

Did you see the President?

No. That was before he arrived. We did from a distance later see the motorcade pull up.

Was working with Presidential security challenging?

They are very exact in what they require, in terms of their specifications and rules, but very fine people. They are not too much into joking around, but go out of their way to accommodate you. At the same time, they didn’t relinquish their high standards; we went through strict screening.

What motivated you to make the effort to get pizzas to the President?

Obviously, it was an honor to serve the President, but I’m also strong supporter of both the President and his policies, specifically the Small Business Jobs Act. I’ve received two SBA loans, but the Jobs Act raised the line from $2 million to $5 million, which will allow me to open more restaurants. The community bank I work with has already approved my next two restaurants, and I’m looking for sites. Before the Jobs Act, that wouldn’t have been possible.

2012 has been the busiest year we’ve ever had, and I believe it is a direct result of the President’s policies, even though they have taken time to take hold. In 2008 and 2009 things were a little off. In 2010 things started coming back slowly. But from the third quarter of last year on, we’ve been breaking records.

How many people do you hire for each restaurant?

About 50. I was hoping I’d see the President [Friday] so I could personally thank him on behalf of myself and the 200 people I employ.

How are sales of Il Presidente pizzas?

Anecdotally, from the sales recaps I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, a lot of customers are coming in and asking about it, wanting to hear the story behind it, and it is selling very well.

Contact Alan J. Liddle at alan.liddle@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @AJ_NRN