Confused House Democrats had a heck of a time Monday night figuring out how to get to the weekly caucus meeting.

Rank and file members, as well as some leaders, stumbled around in search of the mysterious meeting room.

Why? Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) reserved the Congressional Auditorium in the brand new $621 million Capitol Visitor Center.

Very few members had been to the extension areas the massive underground structure -- and those rooms are not located on any map of the CVC.

As House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) approached the auditorium he was astonished to find 100 or so members of his caucus milling around, eating pizza in the entrance hall outside of the designated meeting space.

"What's the deal?" Hoyer asked to no one in particular, as he paused to watch rank and file members leaning over plates of food and soda cans perched on the bases of historical statues relocated from the Capitol, in this case used as makeshift bar tables.

As he soon found out, food was NOT ALLOWED in the 450-seat Congressional Auditorium so scores of members and staff loitered around outside the room to nosh on their standard fare: Al's pizza.
Needless to say, the 7pm meeting started later than scheduled.

Most attendees made it inside by 8pmish or those who came for the food had taken off by that time.

-Molly K. Hooper