Police officers arrived at John's Water Ice in South Philadelphia about 4:30 p.m. Thursday and informed owner Anthony Cardullo that President Obama was coming in 10 minutes.
And 10 minutes later, after the building was inspected by the Secret Service, the motorcade arrived.
Cardullo, 33, estimates that Obama was traveling with 200 people. "It was shocking," he said. "That many move that quick, move into position, and get out that quick."
How quick? About five minutes. All that fuss at the corner of Seventh and Christian Streets, two blocks from the Italian Market.
Obama ordered a medium lemon ice from Cardullo's cousins Roseanna, 28, and Tony, 26, who were working the counter. The president then spoke briefly with the owner.
"I told him I was third generation. We'd been here since 1945," Cardullo said. Obama said he would highly recommend the lemon at John's.
The president was accompanied by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, U.S. Reps. Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah, and Mayor Nutter. Cardullo said he had no idea what they ordered.
Cardullo said an aide who briefed him about what to expect during the visit said she was from Philadelphia and had recommended that the president pay a visit.
Shortly after Obama left, Cardullo posted a photograph of the president at his counter on the John's Water Ice Facebook page.
"That got my vote," said one commenter.