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Fresh from hosting the Obamas on Thursday for the future First Lady’s 45th birthday, Equinox chef and owner Todd Gray was only too happy to talk about the big event: No, not Barack and Michelle Obama‘s dinner, but Gray’s tent that will be pitched outside his restaurant on Inauguration Day.
The curbside tent on Connecticut Avenue NW will, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., sell hand-held foods that you can take directly to the Mall for the inauguration or, later, to the parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Gray will be selling house-made apple cider, hot chocolate, oatmeal-raisin cookies, chocolate-chip cookies, blueberry muffins, and mac and cheese.
It sounds like a great, delicious idea, but, really, how was the Obamas’ visit?
“It was a very special night. They are very nice, very gracious,” said Gray, who didn’t know the Obamas were showing up until they arrived. “He has some presence about him.”
And with that, Gray said he needed to put both hands on the wheel and get back to driving, which he was doing while talking. I asked if I could ask one more question. Gray agreed.
“Did you charge the Obamas?” I inquired.
“They demanded,” he responded. “They wanted to pay.”
“And did they tip well?”
This is when Gray went quiet, his silence hanging in the air like a guillotine blade waiting to fall on my neck. I backpedaled. “You don’t have to answer,” I said.
“I can’t answer that,” Gray said.