WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden made a midday lunch run Thursday to pick up sandwiches for himself and the president, but when it came time to pay the tab, the vice president came up short.

Customers gathered for a grand opening were taken aback to see the vice president sweep through the doors of Capriotti's, a Delaware-born sandwich shop and longtime Biden favorite. Biden quickly announced that the sandwiches — they're called subs, not hoagies, he asserted — originate from Wilmington's Union Street — "where I hang out."

"The president's waiting. I'm having lunch with him today," Biden said to no one in particular.

Four sandwiches later, Biden had racked up a bill of $56.25 for his to-go order, exhausting the contents of the vice presidential wallet. So Biden turned to his assistant, Fran Person, to borrow the difference as a shop worker offered one of the sandwiches to be on the house.

"No, no, no, I'm not taking it," Biden said, adding that he's had to pay every time he's visited the restaurant for the last 40 years. "In Delaware, you pay. It's simple."

Outside the shop, the vice president's visit formed a bit of a spectacle, and he shouted his sandwich suggestions to onlookers who'd caught wind of his visit. He was less accommodating to a group of oversized presidential mascots known for their fourth-inning races during Washington Nationals games.

"Hey, I love you guys, but you know, if you showed up outside Capriotti's on Union Street, you'd be in trouble," Biden said. "They're all Phillies fans, you know what I mean?"

Biden has been known to frequent the chain's Delaware restaurants, and has even had their sandwiches brought in for events in Washington. He brought staff members from Delaware along for the lunchtime trip, the White House said.


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