Election 2016

Hillary Clinton stops by Varsity Pizza during trip to Syracuse

Brett Samuels | Senior Staff Writer

A crowd stands outside Varsity Pizza near the SU campus Friday. Former Secretary of State and Democratic frontrunner for president Hillary Clinton stopped at the establishment for lunch.

It wasn’t an April Fools’ Day joke — Hillary Clinton made a stop at Varsity Pizza on Friday afternoon while campaigning in Syracuse.

Close to 200 people packed into the South Crouse Avenue restaurant to snap photos and videos with the presidential candidate and former secretary of state. In addition to meeting and posing with those inside, Clinton signed two basketballs and got two large pizzas and a sampling of wings to go.

Eric Ockert, a Varsity employee, said when his boss told him Clinton was going to stop by, he thought it was a joke. He said he was happy Clinton thought of Varsity, and estimated close to 200 people, including Clinton’s security, were inside.

“It’s nice to get the recognition that Varsity is an institution around here,” Ockert said.

In addition to the gathering inside, about 100 people congregated on the sidewalk outside of and across the street from Varsity, holding their phones up and hoping for a glimpse of the candidate. Police cars had blocked off South Crouse Avenue to traffic while Clinton was inside.

“I didn’t believe it at first because I thought it was an April Fools’ Day thing,” said Danny Higgins, a freshman television, radio and film major. “But I waited for five minutes, met her and shook her hand a got a picture.”

After about a half hour, Clinton exited the restaurant and was greeted with cheers. She waved to the crowd outside and climbed into a white SUV before driving off. She is scheduled to speak at the F Shed on Friday afternoon.

“It was definitely a crazy experience because I’ve never met a famous person,” Higgins said.

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