President Obama visits The Sink in Boulder

President Obama in Boulder
President Obama wipes off his trousers after being accidentally splattered by frozen yogurt outside the Sink in Boulder on April 24, 2012. | White House Photo by Pete Souza

Staff writer

As a swing state, Colorado got a lot of love from presidential candidates in the 2012 race. And, as a liberal engine for the state, Boulder enjoyed unprecedented attention from President Barack Obama, with three youth-focused visits (the last sitting president to pay even one visit to the city was Dwight Eisenhower in 1954).

Obama visited in September and again five days before the election, urging enthusiastic crowds to vote and get their friends to the polls.

But it was his first visit in April that drew the most attention. Apparently on a whim, Obama stopped his entourage at the Sink, a University Hill hangout.

The funky pizza-and-burger restaurant at 1165 13th St. traces its history back to 1923. The restaurant went through a series of owners and identities (the name traces back to its iteration as a European-style eatery with a sunken fountain). Beginning in 1952 beatnik artists Mike Dormier and “Lll”oyd Kavich painted Boulder and CU cartoons on the building’s walls and patrons began the tradition of burning or writing their names on the walls and low ceilings.

During a music-themed stage, The Sink hosted many bands, including Boulder-based The Astronauts and Tommy Bolin. Perhaps its greatest claim to fame is that Robert Redford, attending CU on a baseball scholarship, worked as janitor and reportedly spent many nights sleeping on one of the benches to save money.

Television foodie personality Guy Fieri brought his “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” to The Sink in 2010 and left his signature and a drawing on the wall.

And, in 2012 the President pulled up to the front door. The restaurant had 20 minutes’ notice, long enough for a security team to sweep the building and string police tape.

Obama chatted with students enjoying the spring sunshine outside. An unlucky diner gained notoriety when she lost control of her yogurt, which splashed an unfazed Obama on his pants leg.

The President worked the crowd inside and added his Sharpie signature next to Fieri’s.

Obama ordered a Sinkza pizza (pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, black olives and onion at a price of $15.99 for a 13-incher). The pizza was promptly renamed POTUS Pie.

The Sink
1165 13th St.
Boulder CO 80302
(303) 444-7465