President Obama got his burger fix today at a familiar South End haunt -- Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus Avenue.
The president, sans jacket, ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and french fries, to go, and left a $20 bill on the $8 tab, according to Charlie’s staff.
“He wanted something to eat in the car,” said Chris Manjourides, who owns Charlie’s with his three siblings. “He didn’t have time. He was starving.”
Ronny Alfaro, who cooked the presidential patty in Charlie’s tiny kitchen, said security personnel stood by the grill and watched him prepare the meal.
“I was pretty nervous,” Alfaro said. “The guy who brought the order in was like, ‘This is for the president of the United States... I just started cooking.”
Obama, who was on his way to a rally for Senate candidate Edward J. Markey in Roxbury, hugged and greeted patrons in the hole-in-the-wall spot that has drawn other famous customers over the years, including Sammy Davis Jr and Nomar Garciaparra.
“I know it seems like there’s an election every other week,” the president told diners.
He made a point of talking up Markey to a woman in the restaurant.
“Do you know Ed Markey?” he asked her before encouraging her to vote for the congressman.
On his way out, Obama made one final plea to diners to vote in the June 25 special election. The president left the restaurant at 12:11 p.m. and waved to the crowds standing across Columbus Avenue, eliciting some cheers and applause.
Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez is the Republican candidate for Senate.Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at James.OSullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports. Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.