President Obama’s fondness for Chicago’s Spiaggia has already been documented, but apparently fondness is too mild a word. Levy Restaunts flew Spiaggia’s chef to a Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls game and surprised the President.
Levy Restaurants handles specialty catering for the Verizon Center and, it just so happens, owns Spiaggia. So when the company got the heads-up (with about 24 hours’ notice) that President Obama would be dining in the owners’ box Friday night, somebody got the bright idea to ship Mantuano out to make the president’s favorite dish. “I got on the plane the next morning,” Mantuano says. “And next thing you know, I’m riding up the private elevator.”
And what, pray tell, is the president’s favorite dish? “Wood-roasted scallops,” Mantuano says. “He always orders them. Because we run the Verizon, I knew we had a wood-burning oven there.
“When Obama walked out and saw me there, he did a classic double-take and said, ‘What are you doing here?’ It was hilarious. He called the photographer over and said, ‘Take a picture of me with my favorite chef.’
“He said favorite chef,” Mantuano says. “I’ve got witnesses.”