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
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