During Thursday’s grand opening here in D.C., Capriotti’s — a sandwich shop that got under way nearly four decades ago in Wilmington, Del. — got a visit from a very special fan: sub-dispatcher-in-chief Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The Delaware Democrat strode into the new location (1800 M St. NW) and was immediately welcomed by thunderous applause. The store was packed with friends and family of the Capriotti’s chain (95 stores and counting), while Racing Presidents, freebie-seekers and star-struck tourists milled about outside.
Once at the counter, Biden ordered lunch for himself and President Barack Obama. He put in for two medium Italian subs — “We don’t call them hoagies in Delaware. We call them subs,” VPOTUS explained to the crush of reporters on hand for the lunch outing — both stripped of onions, an order of hot peppers on the side, one large “Bobbie” (a Thanksgiving-style mash-up of roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo) and another large Italian sub, again with hot peppers on the side.
The crowd erupted in laughter after Capriotti’s CEO Ashley Morris recited back the charge ($56.25), at which point Biden, who discovered he only had $50 on him, called back to staff to loan him a few bucks.
When a Capriotti’s staffer offered to comp the Bobbie for Biden, VPOTUS brushed aside the kind offer.
“I have been going to Capriotti’s in Union Street [510 Union St., Wilmington, Del.] for the last 40 years. I have paid every time I’ve gone,” he proudly stated. “In Delaware you pay. It’s simple.”
His order packed and ready, Biden assured press that this lunch delivery to the White House should settle, once and for all, which city produces the best handheld eats. (Except, of course, that Obama appears to be a Taylor Gourmet guy.)
“This ought to end any debate about Chicago or New York or Philadelphia,” Biden said of the regional sandwich wars, conceding that Philly can “compete” with his hometown when it comes to respectable cheesesteaks.
Morris, who joined the company in 2004 by becoming a franchisee, said the cheesesteak was the first thing he tried.
“It was the greatest sandwich I ever ate in my entire life … and I proceeded to eat that every single day just about for a year” Morris gushed. Since then, he’s grown to love the Capastrami (pastrami, Swiss, Russian dressing, slaw) and the chicken cheesesteak.
He pegged the company’s continuing success to its adherence to fresh ingredients, stating that the individual shops take pride in their slow-roasted meats (12 hours each for the top round beef and signature turkey) and handmade sides. Morris added that they had prepared 20 whole turkeys for today’s grand opening — and that he looks forward to doing the same all across Washington.
“We already have other stores in construction,” he said, estimating that he’d like to see 20 (or more) locations crop around the D.C. metro area within the next five years.