Obama mentions Issaquah pizzeria at White House ceremony
September 29, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 29, 2010
President Obama offered another shout-out to Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria during a White House ceremony Monday, a little more than a month after he highlighted the Issaquah restaurant in a Seattle speech about small businesses.
Flanked by lawmakers and seated before a camera-toting audience of small business owners, Obama signed a small business assistance package. In remarks during the ceremony, the president referred to “Tutta Bella pizzeria in Seattle” as founder Joe Fugere sat in the East Room audience.
“I still haven’t tasted the pizza, but he promises I’m going to get some at some point,” Obama said.
The measure — the Small Business Jobs Act — includes business-oriented tax cuts, and accelerates payouts on loan programs.
Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell stood behind the president as he signed the legislation.
In August, Obama mentioned Tutta Bella and the former Issaquah Community Bank — albeit not by name — in a Pioneer Square speech urging legislators to pass the small business measure.
(Issaquah Community Bank and other community institutions merged to form Bank of the Northwest in February.)
Fugere later guest-blogged about the experience of meeting Obama on the White House website.
Fugere had trouble financing the planned Issaquah restaurant. Regional banks rejected Fugere, but Bob Ittes at the then-Issaquah Community Bank offered a loan.
The pizzeria, along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, opened last June and employs about 50 people.