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Running for president can work up an appetite. The Democratic Presidential hopefuls are in Detroit for this week’s debates at the Fox Theatre, and all this hand-shaking and smiling is making them hungry.

Many have chosen to greet voters at public spaces like cafes and restaurants. Tuesday Beto O’Rourke of Texas made an unannounced visit to breakfast and lunch spot Dime Store inside the Chrysler House in downtown Detroit. The restaurant posted a photo of O’Rourke with Dime Store owner Larry Kahn. 

"He just popped in," said Kahn. "I think it was him, his sister, his wife and maybe somebody else. I think he had the French toast and I think his sister had the chicken pesto. They were so, so nice."

Kahn said candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris tried to dine on Saturday but the wait for a table was "astronomical," he said, adding that he told O'Rourke to let Harris know they'd be happy to have her. "We'll skip the line for her."

The restaurant owner said of all the candidates he thinks his staff would get the biggest kick out of having Bernie Sanders visit. 

"Bernie would be super cool," he said. 

Sanders was busy elsewhere this week, popping up at Qahwah House, a Yemeni coffee shop in Dearborn and Empire Kitchen & Cocktails in Detroit. 

Sunday he and a group of about 10 people dined at Empire, a contemporary American restaurant on Woodward near Brush Park. 

"It was exciting to have a potential presidential figure in the restaurant," said Empire operating partner and chef Aaron Lowen. He said they were already fairly busy on Sunday because of the nearby concerts at Little Caesars Arena, so luckily someone on his team had made a reservation. 

Lowen said there was talk of rapper Cardi B. possibly joining him, but she didn't make it. Sanders dined on the restaurant's honey-garlic boneless half chicken. 

"He loved it," said Lowen. "They loved everything. His wife was there, a couple of people from his staff, it was a big group, 10 people." 

Sanders and Cardi teamed up the following day. Monday the pair appeared at the Ten Nail Bar in Detroit's Capitol Park. 

"We had a great conversation about the future of America," Sanders wrote on social media about their meeting (he even tagged the Detroit business). "And let me tell you: Cardi B is right. Together, we'll get millions of young people involved in the political process and transform this country."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren had lunch in Corktown today at Brooklyn Street Local. She posted for photos with the staff and owners and the popular cafe posted about the encounter on social media. 

Businessman Andrew Yang stopped by TechTown Tuesday to talk to Detroit’s small business owners about the “grid lock in D.C.” 

Last week former vice president Joe Biden had lunch in Dearborn at Brome Modern Eatery with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and leaders from the area’s Muslim community. The organic burger café, which has locations in Dearborn and downtown Detroit, serves organic and halal meat as well as gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. 

The Democratic debates take place Tuesday and Wednesday evening at Detroit's Fox Theatre. 

More: What to know about Detroit's Democratic presidential debates

More: 20 Democratic candidates to touch down in Detroit for debate nights

MoreWoodward in Detroit closed Tuesday, Wednesday nights for debates

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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