Gateway Breakfast House
is a quaint, unassuming diner way out on Northeast Halsey. The place is cramped. The servers and regulars are on a first name basis. “Enjoy our tasty food and tasteless conversation” is scrawled on the wall. Gateway would be perfectly at home in Anytown, USA.
“Did you hear Obama ate here on Tuesday and ordered a grilled cheese and split pea and ham soup?
Yeah, that’s right, he did. I think they’re gonna start calling that the Obama special,” a woman nearby shouts into her phone as if to make herself heard to everyone in the restaurant.
The volume was superfluous. Everyone here already knows—his stop took Gateway straight to the top of our 'to be reviewed' list. (Previously: not ranked.) Diners buzzed about the President’s order, where he sat, and how he was in person. The employees reveled in the flattery.
Yes, President Obama was here. He sat down right over there. He met with the everyday, red-blooded, blue collar, [insert cliché here] common folk of Real America® and ate a good, old-fashioned, American meal while doing it.
Sadly, the split pea and ham soup was not on the menu when I visited. The grilled cheese is always available—the server mentioned they might make that combo into a daily special.
The sandwich was pretty standard: one (maybe even two) slices of processed American cheese squeezed in between two slices of white bread. It brought back memories of the ones served in my middle school cafeteria. Bad memories. The vaguely cheesy taste was too bland to distract from the texture of molten plastic.
The menu is filled with similar homely diner standbys. I had a cup of chili, a scramble, hash browns and toast. All were pretty standard—the chili could well have come from a can—comfortable and boring.
“Now I can say, ‘Well, it was good enough for the President!’ whenever someone complains about our food,” one of the servers jokes.