The Secret Service Built The President a Safe-Room at Tavern

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"POTUS HOLD" Photo: BeckyF via Flickr

When President Obama comes to town, the staff at Brentwood's Tavern apparently hears about it rather quickly, as chef-owner Suzanne Goin reveals to Squid Ink, "I know he's in town because we had all these people calling Tavern afraid he was coming there." That's most likely because everyone recalls the president's first major fundraising stopover in L.A., when Obama arrived at the restaurant and ensnarled the city in a traffic crush that could believably be described as "The Real Carmageddon." Goin also offers insight into the five-day security preparations that saw Secret Service buzzing around her restaurant prior to the visit.

Goin recalls that the Secret Service set up a safe room in Tavern's office with secure phone lines and the windows papered over, and has even held onto an official sign that reads: "POTUS HOLD." The chef, who is busy preparing a Chefs Move to Schools/Lunch Break for Schools fundraiser today, also claims people were angry that Obama didn't just stroll through the front door at Tavern, creeping in through the back door.

"He went a different route and people said, 'We were waiting on the street for six hours!'" Goin says. "You know what, that was a Secret Service decision; that was not us. I mean, we're powerful, but we're not that powerful: We don't dictate where the President goes. We just sit here and make his dinner."

In any case, when the zombies finally launch their attack, we'll meet you guys over in Tavern's safe room. We also claim dibs on that last scone!

Q & A With Suzanne Goin: Chefs Move to Schools Fundraiser, Knocking on Ma Maison's Door + Obama's Secret Service Detail [SI]