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Trump picks up the tab and the Pizza Ranch endorsement

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters from behind security during a stop at Pizza Ranch in Waukee, Iowa, January 15, 2016.

REUTERS

WAUKEE, Iowa -- Iowa's Pizza Ranch got a surprise visit from top GOP candidate Donald Trump Friday, who traded rallies with thousands for true retail politics in a small, crowded room here in Waukee, Iowa.

Pizza Ranch is a staple campaign stop for most candidates in Iowa. With 72 Pizza Ranches spread across the state - even in small towns where there aren't many other restaurants -- the candidates can find them in small towns all over Iowa. The Pizza Ranch that Trump stopped at was just 15 miles from downtown Des Moines.

When asked about why he made the stop, Trump replied, "You know why? Because I like the pizza. It's because the founder endorsed me that is why."

Adrie Groeneweg, 54-yr old co-founder and president of Pizza Ranch, said that he had made his decision to endorse Trump a few weeks ago.

"He is somebody who is going to do something that is different for our country. I believe what he says he is going to do. He might be a little bit out there on some things, how he talks to people but I am tired of the rhetoric of politicians," Groeneweg explained to reporters.

Groeneweg has never endorsed a candidate before and he has also never caucused. "It was just something my dad has always done," he explained. This year, Groeneweg said he'd go to caucus for Trump in February.

With less than three weeks to the Iowa caucus, Trump's campaign had gathered volunteers at the Pizza Ranch for caucus training.

Trump kept his jacket on during the visit and didn't stay for more than an hour. But he did answer questions from reporters after he spoke with the people in the caucus training.

One asked how he planned to close the deal in Iowa.

"We will have to see what happens in the polls on the first but I think we will do really well. If you see all the support we have, I think we are going to do really, really well," Trump said.

Candidates throughout the years have made Pizza Ranch stops frequently over the course of the campaign. This was the first time Trump has dropped by the deep-dish establishment. And he picked up the tab, too.