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What do you get for preventing a U.S. default? Fries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Aside from the warm fuzzy feeling of having helped prevent a recession, what does a White House staffer get for working long hours to raise the U.S. debt ceiling?

Answer: a burger and fries.

President Barack Obama took his top lieutenants out for lunch on Wednesday to thank them for weeks of work that resulted in a deal in Congress this week to lift the debt ceiling and prevent a U.S. default.

Budget director Jack Lew, economic adviser Gene Sperling, and a handful of other senior advisers piled into a motorcade for a short ride with the president to the Good Stuff Eatery, a restaurant near the Capitol that specializes in homemade burgers and handcut fries.

"Michelle eats here all the time," Obama said to a group of diners, referring to his wife.

The president treated the group to lunch and waited in line to pick it up, visiting with surprised patrons who were shocked by the unannounced visit.

"I guess in Washington you see a little bit of anybody anytime but ... you never expect the president to have lunch with you," said Jonah Shumate, a congressional staffer who was at the restaurant when Obama and his staff came.

The president and his entourage sat on the second floor of the restaurant near a window to dine. An extra large plate of fries graced the table.

The restaurant's menu offers a hamburger called the "Prez Obama Burger" as well as the "Michelle Melt Free Range Turkey Burger."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Bill Trott)