Monday, February 27, 2017
Video Report - Clintons grazin’ in Hudson
HUDSON — Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton made a stop in Hudson on Monday.
Clinton said she was traveling north with her family and they decided to stop for lunch at Grazin’ Diner, at 717 Warren St.
“We were with my daughter and her family and we wanted to stop here,” Clinton said. “The french fries were really dangerous, but they were delicious and we ate too many of them.”
Chelsea Clinton’s 37th birthday was Monday. Chelsea and her husband have been to Grazin’ before and she wanted to bring her parents in for her birthday to try a Grazin’ burger, Head Chef and Owner Andrew “Chip” Chiappinelli said.
“They ordered a big variety - The Bob; The Susie; a veggie burger; a couple regular burgers and a grilled cheese and hot dog for the toddler — a perfect mix of everything,” Chiapinelli said.
The Clintons’ visit came as a complete surprise, Chiapinelli said.
“It was ironic because I wasn’t supposed to be there past noon — I have to pick my kids up from school — but I was hanging around for a bit and saw Chelsea walking in, carrying an infant in the car seat,” Chiapinelli said.
Chelsea and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, have been to the restaurant two or three times the past and Grazin’ Angus Farms provided the meat for their wedding in Rhinebeck in 2010, Chiapinelli said.
Monday was the first time Hillary and Bill Clinton had been to Grazin’, Chiapinelli said.
“I was honored to cook for them today; they were my first presidential vote and my most recent vote,” Chiapinelli said.
Natalie Nicholson, of Hudson, is a waitress at Grazin’ and served the Clinton party Monday afternoon. Nicholson said she was surprised by the visit.
“I know she’s [Chelsea] come in before, but not while I was working,” Nicholson said. “They know the farm, but their parents hadn’t tried a burger so Chelsea wanted to bring them in.”
“They’re so genuine, so kind and sweet,” Nicholson said. “It was really surreal.”
Nicholson did not share details about the Clintons’ bill but said the tip was “generous.”
Ashlee Babcock, of Catskill, was also waitressing at Grazin’ on Monday when the Clintons arrived.
“Bill shook my hand and asked me what my name was; he said, ‘Pleasure to meet you’ - they were all very nice to us,” Babcock said.
Babcock said she was surprised by the visit and got the opportunity to take a picture with Hillary and Bill.
“It was all very cool,” Babcock said.
Devin Whittaker, of Hudson, said he was home at the time of the Clintons’ visit and saw someone post about it on Facebook.
“I texted a friend and we walked up to see Hillary, but she had left already,” Whittaker said. “I saw Bill, though — he took one picture with a woman standing near the door.”
Whittaker said he took a video of Bill Clinton leaving Grazin’ and waving to people outside the restaurant.
“His maroon sweater was very ‘Ivy League collegiate,’” Whittaker said.
Hillary Clinton also noted the small business scene in Hudson.
“I am so pleased to see a lot of activity,” she said. “I want to really commend the people who come here and have businesses started. They are taking over buildings and rehabbing them. It’s great to see that.”
Multiple people waited outside the restaurant to try to catch a glimpse of the former first lady while she was eating. Clinton took the time to talk to and take pictures with some of the people as she left.
The former senator first visited Hudson in 1999, she said.
“I was here in ’99 when I was a senator, but I haven’t been back in a long time,” she said. “I’m glad to be here.”
Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton said she wasn’t in town when the Clintons stopped in for lunch.