Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

The Fine Art of Political Eating

Union Station had just reopened, Duke Zeibert’s was one of the most popular “Red-Blooded Macho-Politico” steakhouses and The Monocle kept “legislative diners informed when it’s time to vote.” The year was 1988, and Roll Call was cataloguing “The Fine Art of Political Eating” in its Oct. 23 Fall Dining Guide.

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call.)

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Among the dining guide’s most interesting notes is this from long-time food critic Thomas Head in his “Head Table” column, in which he is unimpressed with the fare at Union Station and pines for the kingpin of fast food:

“The opening of Union Station nearly doubles the number of places to eat on the Senate side of Capitol Hill. While none of the larger, fancier restaurants is yet open, the concourse on the Metro level is lined with what Union Station’s promotional material calls ‘over 25 food outlets offering cuisine from around the world.’ … Fast food, judging from the ubiquity of McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, is likely to be America’s great contribution to world gastronomy … There will be a McDonald’s in Union Station. I just wish it would open soon.”

Meanwhile, Bill Thomas wrote in a story headlined “On the Hill and All Over the Town, Breakfast Has Become Washington’s Political Power Meal,” that “Clout in the nation’s capital is often measured by the ability to make people crawl, and the latest wrinkle is making them crawl out of bed for a power breakfast.”

And, of the 25 “Political Dining Spots” on Capitol Hill, a few durables survive to this day: Bullfeathers, Hunan Dynasty, Tunnicliff’s Tavern, Cafe Berlin, The Dubliner, and The Monocle.

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