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Obama eats lunch at Matt's Bar, holds town hall at Minnehaha Park

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President Barack Obama arrived in Minnesota Thursday afternoon to kick off a two-day trip during which he's expected to talk about the economy and strengthening the middle class.

The president started his Minnesota visit by going to Matt's Bar in south Minneapolis for lunch with Rebekah Erler, a Twin Cities mother whose letter inspired him to start “day-in-the-life” visits around the country to bolster the middle class.

Obama did order Matt's Bar's famous Jucy Lucy, which sparked a debate on Twitter over which Twin Cities restaurant makes the best version of the cheese-filled burger.

During an invitation-only town hall meeting at Minnehaha Park Thursday afternoon, Obama said he could pop up at other local businesses while he's in Minnesota, saying his agenda is "loose."

At the town hall meeting, which lasted about an hour, Obama talked about the economy, with an emphasis on the middle class. He also answered some questions from the crowd relating to come controversial topics, including gun violence and student loans, as well as education and the gender pay gap.

Obama will attend a fundraiser for the congressional campaign arm for House Democrats Thursday night and then speak on economic policy at the Lake Harriet Bandshell Friday morning.

The Star Tribune  and the Pioneer Press have been live blogging Obama's trip to the Twin Cities.

While enroute to Minneapolis, Obama watched the United States vs Germany World Cup match.

Both Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar were planning to board Air Force One for Obama's trip to Minnesota, but a Senate vote Thursday morning held them up, the Star Tribune reports.

Parking/traffic

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has announced traffic and parking restrictions for both the Minnehaha and Lake Harriet events.

MINNEHAHA PARK, THURSDAY JUNE 26: 

Parking restrictions begin at midnight Thursday morning
No parking within Minnehaha Park, including all parking lots and metered parking spaces.

These roads will be closed beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday

– Godfrey Parkway
– Minnehaha Parkway: 39th Ave. So. to roundabout at Godfrey Parkway
– Minnehaha Avenue: E 46th St. to roundabout at Godfrey Parkway
– Minnehaha Park Drive: to E 54th St.

These facilities at Minnehaha Park will close beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday

– All pedestrian and bike trails
– Minnehaha Dog Park
– Minnehaha Park north plateau playground
– Minnehaha Refectory (park building), Sea Salt
– Longfellow House/Longfellow Garden
– Minnehaha Falls

Access to the Veterans Home will only be allowed via 46th Avenue.

All roads and facilities will reopen following the event.

LAKE HARRIET BANDSHELL, FRIDAY, JUNE 27:

Lake Harriet boat launch closes at 10 p.m., Wednesday, June 25

Parking restrictions begin at midnight Friday morning

No parking in lots or along the streets noted below:

– Lake Harriet Parkway: Roseway Road to W 44th Street on west side of lake
– Roseway Road: Kings Highway to Lake Harriet Parkway
– William Berry Parkway
– Queen Avenue: W 40th Street to W 42nd Street
– W 42nd Street: Linden Hills Blvd to Lake Harriet Parkway

No street parking on:

– Linden Hills Blvd: W 40th Street to W 42nd Street
– W 40th Street: Linden Hills Blvd to Queen Avenue

These facilities at Lake Harriet will close beginning at midnight Friday morning

– Pedestrian and bike trails from W 44th Street on west side of lake to Roseway Road
– Lake Harriet North Beach
– William Berry Playground
– Bread & Pickle
– Roberts Bird Sanctuary
– Lyndale Park Gardens/Rose Garden and parking lots
– No watercraft allowed on Lake Harriet
– No access to buoyed sailboats

Restrictions for Harriet neighborhood residents
Residents living on Queen Avenue S. between W. 40th Street and W. 42nd Street will be escorted by police to and from their homes from early Friday morning through the end of the event.

Ticketholders will take buses to the event from Parade Stadium. Area parking lots are closed to the public until after the event.

All restrictions will be lifted after the event is over.

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