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Posted on Tue, May 4, 2010 : 3:52 p.m.

Zingerman's got presidential treatment on Obama commencement day

By Nathan Bomey

President Barack Obama didn't stop at Zingerman's during his trip Saturday to Ann Arbor, but it appears that he may have gotten takeout from the city's iconic deli.

The gourmet food destination said today that it had communicated directly with the White House to fulfill an order for five sandwiches and five sides while the president was here Saturday. 

Darryl Tompkins of Zingerman's Catering personally delivered the order to the Secret Service at Michigan Stadium, where Obama delivered the keynote address at the University of Michigan's spring commencement ceremony.

"The agent asked for bags to get it to the helicopter that would take it to Air Force One," said Pete Sickman-Garner, marketing manager of Zingerman's Service Network, in an e-mail. "Presumably, the president was going to eat lunch after his speech on the way to wherever he was headed next."

Baracky Road Gelato.JPG

Zingerman's was selling Baracky Road Gelato to commemorate President Barack Obama's trip Saturday to Ann Arbor. He didn't place an order for gelato, but Air Force One apparently placed an order for takeout.

Nathan Bomey |

In the days leading up to the commencement address -- which drew more than 80,000 people to the Big House -- speculation mounted about whether the president might take a side trip to a local business or two. After all, then-President Bill Clinton visited Cady's Grill & Bar in Ypsilanti when he delivered the commencement address at Eastern Michigan University in 2000. Clinton also visited Abe's Coney Island in downtown Ypsilanti in 1996 while campaigning for a second term.

Alas, Obama had no time to stop at Zingerman's and no time for a dish of commemorative Baracky Road Gelato. Instead, Air Force flew into Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the president was whisked to U-M via Marine One, and he flew back to the airport immediately following the ceremony.

Here's a list, provided by Zingerman's, of what the president's team ordered:


• Oswald's Mile High. Ingredients: Zingerman's corned beef and yellow mustard on double-baked, hand-sliced Jewish rye bread. 

• Zingerman's Reuben. Ingredients: Zingerman's corned beef, Switzerland Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on grilled, hand-sliced Jewish rye bread.

• J.V.W.'s Detroit St. BBQ. Ingredients: Zingerman's BBQ Amish chicken, Nueske's applewood-smoked bacon and coleslaw on grilled sourdough bread. Served with a side of applewood-smoked baked beans.

• Schoolkids' Song 'n' Dance. Ingredients: Switzerland Swiss cheese, scallion cream cheese, tomato, carrots, onions, cucumber and Garden Works locally grown organic sunflower sprouts on pumpernickel.

• Sheila's Viva Las Vegan. Ingredients: hummus, artichokes, roasted red peppers and baby spinach on grilled farm bread.


• Spincetta Salad: spinach and feta and Pasta.
• Cajun Chicken Pasta Salad.
• Magic Brownies and M Sugar Cookies with Fondant.
• Zapps chips.
• Zzang Bars from Zingerman's Candy Manufactory.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter and subscribe to's newsletters.



Thu, May 6, 2010 : 1:25 a.m.

should give him a moldy hot dog on a day old bun


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 6:08 p.m.

Wait a minute...Back up the bus, people!! This story has an interesting local connection to the President of the United States' visit to our smallish midwestern town. Bashing a deli sandwich is so dumb.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 2:49 p.m.

I think this is a valid story -- I love food, I dig Obama, I like reading about what he may or may not be eating~ Hey, I'm nosy! Mmm, Zingermans...


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

This just in, the President eats sandwiches!

Nathan Bomey

Wed, May 5, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

Sandee, thanks for pointing out the error! It turns out that Clinton visited Cady's in 2000 during his commencement visit and Abe's Coney Island in 1996 while campaigning for a second term. Here's a New York Times reference to the Abe's trip: And an Ann Arbor News reference to the Cady's trip: I updated the story to reflect this.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

I'm pretty sure the President and his family pay for all of their own meals (including his meals in the White House). That has always been the additional to the national debt---rather adding his own money to the Michigan economy!


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

Small correction: When President Clinton delivered the 2000 Commencement Address at EMU, he and his entourage had lunch at Cady's Grill in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 10:21 a.m.

@jondhall - are yu talking about the new Bread Basket?


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 10:09 a.m.

I hope Zingerman's would not release the details of an order that came to my house if you guys asked. If I could afford Zingerman's.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.

$12/oz for Baracky Road Gelato? Too spendy for even a Democrat!


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.

@DagnyJ You've got it right! Quality costs money. Zingerman's sandwiches are the finest. And yes, they're usually big enough to feed 2 people. For you ZingerHaters out there, don't go. Spend your money at Subway and be happy.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:34 a.m.

For me, the extraordinary cost of a Zingerman's sandwich trumps the fact that they're not designed to be eaten by most average human beings every time. You'd need a pretty big mouth to eat a Zingerman's sandwich. (Could be why they're in Ann Arbor...)


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

I think this a cute story, and has a place in If Obama had ordered from Amer's, or Lucky Kitchen, or Miki, or the Red Hawk, then the story would have been written about that place. Get a grip. BTW, our view may be a little skewed here in flyover land. This is how much big deli sandwiches cost in upscale shops on the coasts. And I lived in NYC and I think Zingerman's has better quality food that Zabar's on the Upper West Side. That kind of quality costs something, I'm guessing. Hey, if you don't want to pay that much for a sandwich, don't go there. But stop criticizing people who do.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

I agree with the "non-story" comments. Yes, even the President eats and orders food. Too bad a Zingerman's sandwich loses its luster when cold.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

Do you really think the White House orders food that way, if someone wanted to poison the president, I do not think so I need verification for this story that is not a story! Zingerman's is getting more free advertising from Ann The $12.00 sandwich king! There is a reasonable deli now in town can you name it?


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 11:51 p.m.

Five sandwiches and sides from Zingerman$! WoW! Probably going to add a few more zeros to the national debt.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 8:53 p.m.

"Obama had no time to stop at Zingerman's ".."Air Force flew into Detroit Metropolitan Airport,"....just another reason to expand the AA airport....then Obama would have had time to stop at Zingerman's..or maybe even Krazy Jim's...just hope he orders the correct way if he does go to Krazy Jim's in the future....


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 8:28 p.m.

This must be a slow newsday. This is not even a story.

Pete Sickman-Garner

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 8:06 p.m.

Yikes! I didn't know they let readers of juvenile comic books onto this site!


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 5:09 p.m.

Swiss cheese? Jewish rye? Hummus? He obviously hates America. And those $10 or whatever ZZang bars -- clearly he is not fiscally responsible.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

That's nice, but Pete Sickman-Garner should concentrate on producing more 'Hey Mister' comics.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

I wonder if he enjoyed a Marlboro Red following that sandwich.