Chesterton Tribune



Seen and Heard: Rahm Emanuel eats lunch at the Red Cup

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Shortly before noon on Tuesday a bicyclist walked into The Red Cup Cafe & Deli, 115 Broadway in Chesterton, and something about the man made owner Laura Verheaghe wonder.

“You look familiar,” she told him. “You look like Chicago,” she told him. Then he took off his helmet. “Holy cow, you are Chicago,” she told him.

As deep-dish, big-shouldered, Windy-City Chicago as they get.

Turns out, Former Mayor of Chicago, former Chief of Staff in the Obama White House, former U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel was hungry.

Emanuel--on the first leg of a two-week bike trip around Lake Michigan, having left Chi earlier Tuesday morning with two friends--had originally been planning to lunch at Tate’s Place in Portage but as luck would have it the trio overshot Willowcreek Road. “So they asked a woman on the bike trail about a good place to eat and she said The Red Cup,” Verheaghe told the Chesterton Tribune. “Thank you, woman on the bike trail.”

The first order of business was to order. “He asked me what was good,” sandwich maker Rachel Becker told the Trib. “I recommended the chicken pesto because it’s my favorite.”

And that’s what Emanuel had, followed by cookies and coffee. And then--after Emanuel’s wife, Amy Merritt Rule, following the bicyclists in a car, joined him at The Red Cup--he had a slice of pecan pie too, freshly made by Verheaghe. “His wife told me that pecan pie is his favorite and asked who makes the best in town. I said I do and then I baked him one. I said I’d bake him a pecan pie to celebrate his being out of a job. Rahm Emanuel ate my pecan pie. How cool is that?”

Emanuel, in no hurry to leave either, spent the better part of two hours at the cafe. “He was very nice,” Verheaghe said. “He took a lot of photos with my staff. And he’s really funny too. I complimented him on his retirement. ‘More like a divorce from my constituents,’ is the way he put it. And he liked my Sex Pistols tee-shirt.”

Even so, Verheaghe said, “Had I known he was coming, I would have washed my hair. And maybe not worn my Sex Pistols tee-shirt.”

One customer surprised to be hobnobbing with the former Mayor of Chicago was CHS sophomore Kate Nevers, who was studying for finals at The Red Cup and not goldbricking at all. “He walked up and asked me why I wasn’t in school. I said it’s finals week and I just finished my final early. ‘What homework are you doing?’ and I said I was studying physics. ‘Oh, can I help? My daughter goes to a small school in New Haven, you might have heard of it, it’s called Yale.’ And I said ‘Oh good!’ Then he went to talk to somebody else. They were there for a long time and as they were leaving he gave me a fist bump and wished me good luck. And I said ‘Good luck on your bike ride!’

“I hung out with a guy who hung out every day with President Obama,” Nevers added. “How cool is that?”



Posted 5/24/2019




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