Obama Drops in at Taylor Gourmet

Roundtable discussion is about small businesses... and, we hope, sammiches

The lure of those sesame seed-studded Taylor Gourmet sandwiches is irresistible, apparently even if you're a president with an agenda to share.

President Obama's motorcade cruised to the Taylor location at 14th and T around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

During a roundtable discussion, Obama asked small business owners how they're growing their companies.

"Each one of you were willing to take some risks," Obama told them. "As you guys said initially you got started with your own savings... mortgaging your house and so forth, obviously you had to take a leap. But you had a good idea. You provided a great product. And you are living out the American dream."

Among those who joined in were Philly transplants Casey Patten and David Mazza, who founded Taylor Gourmet in 2008 after struggling to find what they thought were authentic hoagies in the city.

The meetup was hosted at Taylor's newest location, which opened back in January, but a fifth spot (in Merrifield, Va.) is in the works for this summer. Patten and Mazza plan to hire more than 25 new employees, the White House said.

Kathy Rachels, president of Yes! Organic Markets, also joined in the discussion.

Obama showed up well before lunchtime, and got takeout instead of sticking around for that Italian hoagie or chicken parm sub. He was scheduled to have lunch with congressional leaders around 11:30. "I'm going to offer them some hoagies," he said.

Obama also treated the small business owners to sandwiches. "I have to pay -- it's my rule," he said.

Patten and Mazza asked him to sign his receipt as a favor, telling him it was an honor to have him visit. After signing, Obama hefted up his footlong sandwich, telling reporters, "This is a serious-sized hoagie."

That serious hoagie (for the morbidly curious and/or hungry) was a 12-inch Spruce Street, which has roast turkey, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and sharp provolone.

A Taylor employee didn't know what types of sandwiches Obama picked up for congressional leaders, but said the tab totaled $62.79.

Before his visit, the White House announced that Obama wanted to show Congress "the need to invest in small businesses and jumpstart new hiring" with a 10 percent tax credit to businesses that increase wages or create new jobs in 2012, such as Taylor Gourmet.

"What I just want to say to the reporters who are here, you’ve got three small businesses who are outstanding examples of American entrepreneurship," Obama said to the crowd at Taylor. "... And it’s their ingenuity and their hard work that’s allowed them to be successful. But organizations like the SBA have also made a difference," he said.

Obama is urging Congress to take up his "To Do" list

"The economy is recovering but we’ve still got a long way to go," he said. "...There’s no reason why we shouldn’t act on that right now."

SEE PHOTOS from Obama's visit here.

Check Out the Scene: Keep up with what's happening in the D.C. area anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters.

Contact Us