Cafe owner aims to thank Obama during city visit

Will Drummond with Lebowskis' special Obama White Russian and burger. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Will Drummond with Lebowskis' special Obama White Russian and burger. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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THE Capital has rolled out the welcome mat for Hollywood big hitters including George Clooney, Leonardo Di Caprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but on Friday will host the most high-profile visitor so far.

Barack Obama is expected to touch down in the city on Friday morning ahead of a charity bash at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and businesses on Morrison Street are preparing for an influx of excited bystanders keen for a glimpse of the former president.

One restaurant opposite the event venue is holding out hopes that Mr Obama will drop in for some traditional Kurdish food before jetting off back to Chicago.

Owner of Rojava Restaurant Sivan Kobani said: “I have many bookings for Friday night.

“And we would love the opportunity to say thank you to Obama. He helped us in Kobani City from ISIS.

“I lost nine people from my family and my house was flattened but now Kobani has stopped ISIS terrorism.

“We will hang flags out of the front of the restaurant on Friday to welcome Mr Obama – if I can I would like to thank him for saving my home town of Kobani, if I could have one minute to thank him and give him flowers, I would.”

Also embracing the Obama excitement is American-themed bar Lewbowskis.

The pub, which has 27 White Russian variations, has crafted a special Obama-themed drink and burger for the evening and is anticipating a big turn out ahead of the president’s lecture, which has been organised by the Hunter Foundation.

General manager Will Drummond said: “We’re really excited and expect there will be lots of people coming in before and after the event at the EICC. “I think it will be like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s visit last year, but on a different scale.”

Although a cloak of darkness still surrounds the details of the former president’s visit, hundreds of people are expected to line Morrison Street for a chance sighting of Obama entering the venue.

Mr Drummond added: “I would expect security to be at a maximum however we would have anticipated information about potential road closures or restrictions by now but there has been nothing so far. Business as usual and we are really looking forward to celebrating the occasion.”

Secret service teams have been in the area all week, sweeping the streets ahead of Mr Obama’s arrival. A local office worker said her company sometimes circulates e-mails ahead of high profile events which highlight heightened security but in this case they had received nothing.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said work is ongoing on a “full review” of security at major events in line with the UK’s now critical terror threat level. This includes an assessment of Mr Obama’s visit.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk