Being a President has its perks. Every now and then, you get to step out of your bubble and into the real world. Then have your favorite restaurant cleared out just for you and your friends. No waiting. And you can bet that your service is excellent. Well, you may not be able to shut down these restaurants this weekend, but these are definitely some DC spots with the Presidential Seal of Approval:
- Martins Tavern – 1264 Wisconsin Ave – This iconic Georgetown institution gained notoriety when John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie Bouvier. You can still sit in the exact booth where such a famous presidential proposal happened. It doesn’t stop with Kennedy though, Martin’s has hosted every sitting President since Harry Truman.
- Five Guys – EVERYWHERE! – Five guys used to be DC’s little burger secret. Now, you can find them everywhere and President Obama loves to take in some greasy fries and Burgers. Here he is taking in the crowds and loading up on the soggy greatness that is a Five Guys Burger.
- Rays Hell Burger – 1725 Wilson Blvd – DC is crazy about Burgers, but one of the best is definitely Rays. It’s so good, people actually leave DC and travel the two Metro stops into Arlington to get it! In truth, its only about a 5 minute Metro ride from Foggy Bottom and its definitely worth the trek. A few years ago, President Obama invited Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to enjoy a “traditional American Lunch.” Medvedev said “its not quite healthy, but it sure is tasty!”
- The Willard Hotel – 1401 Pennsylvania Ave – The iconic hotel that introduced the world to the phrase “lobbyist” also is home to Mint Julep invited by Henry Clay at their Round Robin bar. But, every President since Franklin Pierce has at least had a meal there or even stayed there. The history of the Willard is incomparable.
- Old Ebbitt Grill – 675 15th Street – Arguably the most famous restaurant in DC and one of the cities favorites for sports stars, lobbyists, Senators, Congressman, and of course, Presidents. Although its moved from its original location, its the oldest saloon in DC, founded in 1856. Every table has a small card reading “Many other famous statesmen, naval, and military heroes, too numerous to mention here, have been guests of the house.” President McKlinly lived at the Ebbitt when it was a boarding house during his time in Congress. Presidents Grant, Andrew Johnson, Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt, and Harding were known to have a drink around its famous bar.
- The Monocle – 107 D Street NE – Literally a stones throw from the Capitol, you can imagine the heavy hitters that have walked through this hill hot spot over the years. John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon visited here while they were battling each other for President in 1960. In fact, every president since Kennedy have enjoyed a drink and a crab cake here at some point.
- Peking Gourmet Inn -6029 Leesburg Pike (Bailey’s Crossroads, VA) – Another Virginia spot discovered by President George HW Bush, both he and his son, George W Bush have enjoyed the Peking Duck. Rumor is that George HW visited Peking Gourmet so much the secret service made the Inn’s windows bulletproof.
- Blue Duck Tavern – 1201 24th Street – Maybe you just finished a tour with us in Foggy Bottom? Maybe you want to treat the Mrs. like a first lady tonight? Well the Blue Duck has been an anniversary spot for the Presidents, including, most recently the President and Mrs. Obama on their 2010 Anniversary.
- Ben’s Chili Bowl – 1213 U Street NW – It’s cliche to say, but no trip to DC is complete without a visit to Ben’s. And certainly no presidential food tour is complete without a visit to this iconic U Street spot. There is a sign below the menu that says it all: “List of People who eat Free at Ben’s Chili Bowl: Bill Cosby, the Obama Family, and NO ONE ELSE.” Even President Sarkozy of France has enjoyed one of their greasy, chili covered Half Smokes.