The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Washington Life

Michelle Obama and Staff Go for Burgers

Updated 1:59 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Is the White House having a boutique burger taste test? At the end of a week that saw the president and vice president pay a visit to local cult fave Ray's Hell Burger in Virginia, first lady Michelle Obama dropped by Spike Mendelsohn's burger place Good Stuff Eatery on Pennsylvania Avenue over lunch, the White House confirmed.

Local blog DC365 was first to write on the visit, snapping a shot of the casually dressed style icon as she exited the building.

"She whizzed past us, waving and smiling, in a kicky little ponytail and grey capri pants, as the crowd shouted 'We love you!'" wrote the blogger.

The first lady was joined on the outing by her staff, said spokesperson Katie McCormick Lelyveld, who had recommended the place to her. "Our staff had been before and we had told her about it and it was great," she said. The outing was just one of several the first lady and her staff have made to local eateries for lunch, also visiting Five Guys Burgers and Fries and a barbecue place. "Sometimes you just need a burger," said McCormick Lelyveld. "It was her idea."

The group numbered 17-20 in size and sat on the restaurant's second floor, said Good Stuff Eatery spokesperson Micheline Mendelsohn, sister of Chef Spike, a former "Top Chef" contestant. There, they noshed on a selection of the joint's most popular fare. "We just made platters so everybody could taste different burgers," she said.

The selection included the Colletti's Smokehouse burger, recently the winner of Rachel Ray's Burger Bash best burger in the country prize, free range turkey burgers, the "Prez Obama" burger, regular burgers and bacon cheeseburgers, served with two kinds of French fries, sea-salt dusted ones and a thyme, rosemary and cracked pepper version. Also on offer were Cliff's Homegrown Vidalia Onion Petals, a kind of high-end blooming onion.

"People were going crazy. People were taking photos, people were trying to meet her," said Mendelsohn, who met the Obamas with her brother when they participated in activities during the White House Easter Egg Roll.

"We're just honored that she thought to come by the restaurant and try us out," Mendelsohn said. "I think she left happy and that's what this business is all about."

Posted at 1:12 PM ET on May 8, 2009  | Category:  Washington Life
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The Obamas saw how the White House press soiled their pants when they got a dog. And then again when Obama went for lunch. So why not milk the ship of fools for all they can? Of course, the country is lurching towards bankruptcy but this is what people want.

Posted by: brewstercounty | May 9, 2009 8:17 PM

I've seen the First Lady and her Free Willy staff, the last thing they need is hamburgers and fries.

a walk around the reflecting pool a couple of times wouldn't hurt.

Posted by: proudgaycuban | May 9, 2009 6:24 PM

Cab91 and others:

A lot of locals do care where the First Family go in DC, in large part because many First Family's in years past never went anywhere, ignoring DC. So it's nice to get a little attention.

If you don't like the story, don't read it. But some of us locals like this sort of thing. And WP is in fact a local paper, serving DC.

Posted by: HillMan | May 9, 2009 4:43 PM

Let's see...

1. Unemployment in some states is now at 12%, if not more.

2. Since January, the price of gasoline has risen from $1.45 a gallon, to $2.25 a gallon.

3. Foreclosures are still happening, although banks have tempered these a bit to avoid a over-supply of homes on the market, driving price even further down.

4. Nobody's in the MSM talking about the $5 or so BILLION given to Chrysler, LLC by King Obama and the several Billions of dollars by Bush, but King Obama sez- Let the people eat Waygu beef, while he lets the UAW keep 55% of the new Chrysler, LLC, while he walks away from recovering taxpayer money.

5. Saving accounts don't pay beans.

6. The cost of living in NOVA, NY, Los Angeles, etc., is much higher than in Maxwell, New Mexico or French Lick, Indiana, but we all is defined as "rich" by King Obama, because we make a joint income of $250k a year. Could it be that maybe we strive for success and work hard towards such success, through improvement and sacrifice, rather than sit on our honkers, waiting for manna?

7. A billion dollars for ACORN projects, but managing to gut our satellite capabilities.

I guess Waygu beef is off the menu and the new side-show is going out for "burgers" is the new PR stunt.

Well, I and a lot of Americans aren't buying into this. 2012 is coming and the mid-term elections are right around the corner.

As John McLaughlin says, "Bye-Bye" and we'll do it at the ballot box.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | May 9, 2009 1:30 PM

I heard on the radio that the economy is improving because of obama as per an economist...
the economy is improving because it will always find a way to survive...
obama has done nothing but transfer trillions to his buddies and set up the congress and senate to go after Americans...
wall street will improve, people will lose jobs and not one law has been passed to insure people are considered for work...

Posted by: DwightCollins | May 9, 2009 12:22 PM

Who cares where these mutts go to eat, and what they eat? They're both hate filled slugs who took advantage of society's guilt, and a few whacko and criminal friends, to make a haul for themselves, and now they are killing our grandchildren's future.
These leftist slugs are nothing but pieces of human debris.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 9, 2009 11:11 AM

The Puyallup City Council is going to hide behind a sneeze shield after having their behavior drastically improved by a 'public uprising' during a council meeting. Meanwhile the First Lady is out with people while getting some really good food. D.C. makes sense at times.

Posted by: n7uno | May 9, 2009 4:09 AM

I think it is great that the Obamas promote local business. Go Michelle!

Posted by: nursehope | May 8, 2009 9:31 PM

The U.S. may be embracing a radical foreign-policy position fraught with danger for the whole world: the nonsensical notion that de-nuclearizing Israel will stop Iran.

As Hezbollah prepares to take over Lebanon, a U.N.-backed tribunal orders the release of four pro-Syrian generals accused of murdering a former prime minister. Iran may soon have a Mediterranean beachhead.

Just as we soften relations with Iran, the terror state imprisons a U.S. journalist for "espionage" because Tehran knows a hostage is a bargaining chip.

But the news media would rather tell us how Michelle Obama and staff go out for burgers.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | May 8, 2009 9:14 PM

So the President and First Lady go out in the D.C. area and spend their money (they do have their own money by the way)promoting local restaurants and stimulating the economy and people want to complain. Please people get over it. What exactly is the problem with that? Hey, did anyone add up your tax dollars that were saved by the White House not cooking for the lunch that day. Do you whiners even realize how petty and stupid you all sound?

Posted by: catmomtx | May 8, 2009 9:07 PM

Not since Bill Clinton has there been a bigger fib told by a public official. A report from the director of national intelligence confirms Nancy Pelosi knew waterboarding had already been performed.

Lying to Congress is a crime. Lying from Congress is not. Otherwise, House Speaker Pelosi would rightfully belong in the same facility that Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was sent to for being found guilty of having a faulty memory.

But the news media thinks it's more important to tell us about Michelle Obama and staff going out for burgers.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | May 8, 2009 8:40 PM

mock1ngb1rd: 2/3 of that 3.5 trillion is entitlements. And, unlike Bush, Obama is being honest and including defense spending in the budget instead of hiding it in emergency supplementals. Don't get your panties in a bunch. It's not like everything would be free if someone else was in the White House.

Posted by: mwfree | May 8, 2009 8:13 PM

No cuts. More spending. Less defense. Bigger deficits. More debt. Our tax dollars at work.

And what we get to hear about in the news is Michelle Obama and her staff going out for burgers.

One thing that OUGHT TO BE IN THE NEWS instead of this burger story is $17 billion. That's the amount, out of a total $3.5 trillion in spending, that has been "cut" in the White House's latest budget.

If this is some kind of joke, it isn't very funny.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | May 8, 2009 8:05 PM

Hey, Hannity! This should give you something to talk about for the next two weeks. WHERE'S THE MUSTARD????????

Posted by: bfeeney1 | May 8, 2009 7:41 PM

Hannity has a lunch of cream cheese and bean-o for his chronic gas, which often exits via his mouth. He should not criticize the Obamas. That said, the point about beef cattle releasing as much gas as car emissions does get one's attention.

Posted by: axolotl | May 8, 2009 7:30 PM

Who cares?? Is this news - or even slightly interesting? I hope the nation soon tires of the media-created-celebrity- nonsense news of the first family. It's so silly. While Rome burns ...

Posted by: martyfrancom | May 8, 2009 7:30 PM

Time they tried Al's Steak & Cheese in Del Ray or The Italian Store in Arlington. Strictly take-out- but worth it!

Posted by: marymadog | May 8, 2009 7:09 PM

Sean Hannity is so Damn Petty...

Yesterday he was complaining about President Obama wanting Grey Poupon or Dejean Mustard on his Burger.

1. Grey Pou Pon Mustard is not Expensive.

Contrary to the old commercials.

2. Dejean Mustard is also In-Expensive.

3. Can't we talk about the President & 1st Lady, in a Positive Light, for just going out and getting a Damn Burger, as People staying in touch with Us Regular Folk.

God Bless them

Posted by: omaarsblade | May 8, 2009 6:47 PM

So, tmr3513, you eat at the White House often? What? You say you've never actually eaten there before? How about a big, steaming WH kitchen plate full of STFU, then?

Posted by: justathought3 | May 8, 2009 6:43 PM


Posted by: mwfree | May 8, 2009 6:32 PM

Okay for one the White House has THE best kitchen in the world.

They all could have gotten food from there even "burgers" that would have put those joints to shame.

Talk about a waste of taxpayers money for a photo op to show the peons they are just regular folks.

So in the mean time all the paid WH kitchen staff are sitting around on their thumbs.

These people are a joke.

Posted by: tmr3513 | May 8, 2009 5:12 PM

Y'all need to chill out! Plus gouZgounis what's a burger every now and then?? You can tell they are healthy. You can allow yourself a little treat if you exercise or eat "well" the rest of the time.

Besides that...seriously...who gives a darn where/what/how they eat????

Posted by: thomas45 | May 8, 2009 3:40 PM


First, no prosecutions for those who did the torturing.

Now, more conspicuous beef consumption.

Is there no justice for progressive vegans?

Just kidding; last night, taking a cue from the POTUS/VPOTUS visit to "Ray's Hell Burgers," we forsook turkey burgers for steer meat.

But we stuck with the Heinz.

Please pass the statins...


PS -- Mrs. Obama: Did you read this article about DOMESTIC torture? Please pass on to CIC:


Posted by: scrivener50 | May 8, 2009 3:03 PM

If the Obamas care as much about this planet and global warming as they claim they do, they should stop going for burgers. Raising cattle for beef releases as much greenhouse gas worldwide as cars and trucks do. Besides we are facing an epidemic of obesity in this country and burgers aren't exactly a health food. They are setting a very poor example for the children. Could they please keep their burger munching behind closed door - like the president's Marlboro habit?

Posted by: gouZgounis | May 8, 2009 2:54 PM

You forgot to find out if she asked for dijon mustard for her burger.

Can we please declare an end to fluffy stories like this? I don't care where they go to eat. I don't even care if they eat at Five Guys. I just don't care.

Posted by: cab91 | May 8, 2009 2:09 PM

OK Fox News...

Let the outrage begin!

She said "hold the pickle....Oh my gosh what a communist elitist!"

Posted by: hayden1 | May 8, 2009 1:33 PM

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