The occasional celebrity at Chubby's Barbeque does not surprise owner Tom Caulfield, but serving restaurateur Chris Santos and members of the White House staff left a big impression.
Twice last month, Santos, a judge on the Food Network's "Chopped," brought new customers to the roadside restaurant in Emmitsburg and left big tips that made his visits memorable.
The bill came to about $133 on March 2, and Santos left a $100 tip.-- When he came back with six people March 26, he picked up the $272 tab and left a $150 tip, Caulfield said.
"They ate enough to feed the White House," he said. "They ordered a bunch of just about everything. ... They went crazy for the cornbread."
Plates of beef brisket, fried bologna sandwiches, pulled pork and sides of potatoes, beans and cole slaw -- all vanished.
"I was in awe," Caulfield said. "The only thing they didn't get was ribs. ... They all had the good gooey butter cake."
Both times that Santos ate at Chubby's, he was with Tom Gillespie, executive steward of Santos' restaurants, The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex.
Santos sent a Twitter message March 2: "The Server just asked if she should put the rest of our food on the table in the booth behind us. Looks like there's gonna be leftovers."
Gillespie tweeted a message and photo: "Just a light snack for me and @SantosCooks enough for three Marine divisions pic.twitter .com/qEmiFZked3."
Among Santos' guests the second time were five executive chefs, one from the White House, Caulfield said. The group was staying in Washington, and Santos cooked at the White House the next day, Caulfield said.
White House security attended and snapped photos of the outing now posted on Chubby's Facebook page, he said. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Gillespie tweeted and Santos re-tweeted about the second meal:
"@SantosCooks and I killing it at Chubby's BBQ once more," and they urged their Twitter followers to eat there.
Caulfield said he and his staff of seven or eight are used to serving famous performers and politicians and let them just enjoy their meals.
Santos' tipping put him in a league with Chubby's record tipper, actor Bill Murray, Caulfield said. Ten years ago, Murray had lunch with his son and left a $50 tip for a $27 bill, he said.