Since Barack Obama is preparing to deliver the State of the Union Tuesday, we decided, naturally, to check on the state of the President’s plate. Obama is our first foodie President, and his eating habits say a great deal about what tops America’s tables.
After reviewing more than 12,400 reports filed by the White House press pool since Obama took office six years ago, we were able to uncover nearly every one of his dining choices, from enchiladas with chorizo in Colorado to the best sushi he’s ever had in Tokyo. Our tally shows Obama has left the White House at least 120 times for breakfast, lunch, a snack or dinner, clogging restaurant parking lots with Presidential motorcades everywhere from Honolulu to Martha’s Vineyard.
And the results are in: Alan Wong’s of Honolulu is Obama’s favorite restaurant. The First Couple has picked at least 15 places for Date Night. And Obama, who’s eaten in at least 30 states since taking office, is nearly three times as likely to find himself wielding a fork and knife in a place that voted for him than against him.
Look below to see just what’s been on the Presidential menu since Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Tap or hover over each picture to see when Obama visited. Starred ratings and images are provided by Yelp.
Despite the Administration’s efforts to make America eat healthier, when our President goes out for lunch, his go-to meal is a burger. (Not for nothing did the Washington Post call Obama’s relationship with cheeseburgers a “love story.”)
When the chef Bobby Flay dropped by the White House to show Obama his grilling tricks in 2009, Obama spilled the beans on how he likes his meat. “I’m a medium-well guy. People always complain about that but that’s just how I like it.” Here’s where the President is getting his overcooked meat.
“Every time, it’s a chicken-skin moment,” says chef Alan Wong about the multiple visits from his most famous customer. Wong was talking about his goosebump-inducing nerves—not his menu. Most winters, the Obamas vacation in Hawaii. And when they do, they visit Alan Wong’s restaurant, the place where Obama has eaten more than any other during his presidency. While at the Asian-fusion restaurant, Obama eats soy-braised short ribs, Wong told Honolulu magazine.
Early in his presidency, Obama discovered that taking his wife out for a date could become a political hot potato. The world’s most powerful man somehow manages to secure some of the country’s most coveted tables, including seats at Blue Hill and Estela in New York City and Komi in Washington, D.C. Rumor has it family friend and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett scouts out restaurants before the Obamas give them a try.
Want to find a place near you where Obama’s broken bread? The President’s dined in at least 30 states.
Obama’s taken out presidents and pastors. Even Joe Biden. Here’s the breakdown of who’s most often filling out his table.
Thanks to campaign schedules and the heavily Democratic District of Columbia, Obama’s most often eating among folks who have voted for him. Here’s the political breakdown of each Congressional district where he’s had a meal. Districts outlined in black have changed representatives since Obama’s visit.
From Inauguration Day in 2009 to today, here’s every single meal eaten outside the White House as captured by the White House pool reports.
Did we miss something? Perhaps! We limited the survey to places where the President was observed eating or buying food (swinging by a diner to shake hands doesn’t cut it). If Obama came to your favorite place and grabbed a bite, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be sure to update the list.
Reporting contributed by Giri Nathan.
Last updated Jan. 23, 2015