Presidential tastes: Eating like Obama

  • Then president-elect Barack Obama, center, pays for a chili half smoke with a side of shredded cheese at Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington.
Then president-elect Barack Obama, center, pays for a chili… (Joshua Roberts, Bloomberg…)
February 17, 2011|By Nancy Jones Bonbrest, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Presidential tastes

While visiting Washington and its surroundings, why not eat like a president — at new economy prices, of course. Here are a few local spots with tasty food good enough for President Barack Obama and his family:

Ben's Chili Bowl Opened in 1958, this renowned restaurant remains true to its roots with lots of chili, burgers and dogs. Obama orders the chili half-smoke — a pork and beef smoked sausage topped with mustard, onions and spicy chili sauce ($5.45). 1213 U Street, NW; 202-667-0909;

Ray's Hell Burger Site of the "historic" hamburger summit where Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited to feast on a traditional American lunch last June. The Russian leader topped his cheeseburger with jalapenos, mushrooms and onions. 1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.; 703-841-0001

Sei A favorite of first lady Michelle Obama, the sushi at this modern Asian restaurant was reportedly served at White House Christmas parties. Not as recession-friendly as burgers, pizza and chili, but there's a prix fixe menu for lunch ($20) and dinner ($35). 444 7th Street, NW; 202-783-7007;

We, The Pizza Chef Spike Mendelsohn, of Bravo TV's "Top Chef" fame, opened this restaurant last year next to his other, equally popular Good Stuff Eatery. The first lady dined here along with her daughter, Sasha. They both enjoyed the homemade lemon-lime soda. 305 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-544-4008; or

The Dairy Godmother Specializing in Wisconsin-style frozen custard, this sweet spot is frequented by the Obama family. There's a monthly calendar for flavor specials with Cherry Tree topping the list for Presidents Day. 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.; 703-683-7767;

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