Former US President Barack Obama made his first visit to Canada since leaving office Tuesday afternoon, and while his convention centre speech was the big headline, the internet and local media seem more enamoured with his dinner at Little Burgundy’s Liverpool House than his words.
It started early evening when Burgundy Lion, across the street from Liverpool House, dropped a photo of Obama’s hefty security detail on Notre-Dame, with the president waving.
Obama's grabbing a quick bite across the street before the Burgundy lion anniversary party. Good call, mr. President....Posted by Pub Burgundy Lion on Tuesday, June 6, 2017
The internet hivemind initially suggested he’d be dining at Joe Beef, the older and most prominent of David McMillan, Allison Cunningham and Fred Morin’s neighbouring restaurants on the street. Perhaps because Joe Beef is booked solidly for months and it would be not ideal to turf out those diners, the President turned up at the slightly more casual Liverpool House.
While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wasn’t snapped going inside, he made his status as Obama’s dinner date known not long after.
How do we get young leaders to take action in their communities? Thanks @BarackObama for your visit & insights tonight in my hometown. pic.twitter.com/EwJXPEkN3w— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 7, 2017
The dinner was a private affair with no media presence (inside the restaurant, at least), although that didn’t stop the CBC from dubbing it “The Liverpool House Summit”. They extrapolated plenty of ideas about what the two talked about over their oysters and lobster spaghetti (disclaimer: it’s not known that they actually ate this, despite what some local publications claimed), and what it means for Canada-US trade policy.
Meanwhile outside, a crowd quickly gathered to gawk from the security perimeter around the restaurant, and both Obama and Trudeau emerged a couple of hours later to raucous screaming.
People lined up up and down the block to see Obama come out of St.Henri restaurant. It's either Joe Beef or Liverpool House pic.twitter.com/wvTWIXtTSz— catherine solyom (@csolyom) June 7, 2017
Obama-Trudeau dinner in Montreal is over! pic.twitter.com/StnFvS3O7U— Genevieve Beauchemin (@CTVBeauchemin) June 7, 2017
There was no shortage of approval for the President’s choice of restaurant — McMillan has become an icon for Montreal’s food scene beyond the city, so commentators and the internet at large suggested it was a stamp of approval for a beloved chef-owned restaurant in the city. Montreal Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman also appeared to subtly highlight the fact that the two didn’t head to the city’s latest big-banner, big-money addition to the restaurant scene, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. As quoted in the Gazette, she tweeted “Nice to see President Obama visiting our best local restaurants” with the hashtag #eatlocal, although the tweet appears to have been deleted.
Could not imagine a better place to show @BarackObama one of the great things about Montreal @joebeef @fredmadeit— Stephane Lefrancois (@Stephane_MTL) June 7, 2017
omg liverpool house is one of my favourite restaurants. i literally still have the receipt of my meal from 2014 because it was that good https://t.co/6Qxdm0yFy1— ria (@c0ldfruit) June 7, 2017
And the night ended with McMillan getting a snap with the power duo.
Yes @BarackObama @JustinTrudeau @LiverHouse @joebeef @Monmontreal great night! Thank u , Merci! pic.twitter.com/Fkoe1R7aDN— David McMillan (@joebeef) June 7, 2017
So, there it is — if you want to dine like a President (or Prime Minister), Liverpool House is a good bet.