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Obama’s Burger Map of DC Is Disappearing

Obama and Biden dine at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington in May 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Obama ordered so many burgers when he was in office that Eater had to map his meat-sandwich habit. But like so many of his policies, the Trump era has been unkind to Obama’s burger legacy. More than 36 percent of the restaurants on the map have since closed or changed names.

Could the end of the upmarket burger era be upon us? Washington Post food critic Tim Carman writes that he left Lucky Buns off his best-casual restaurants list in part because during the Obama era, burger joints “in a sense, became our down-market steakhouses, one more way for outsiders to consider our city a culinary backwater.”

While we’re not concerned that the Dupont Shake Shack or the Navy Yard Five Guys will vanish soon, here’s an accounting of the Trump years’ harsh treatment of Obama burger stops:

Ray’s Hell Burger

The K Street outpost of Michael Landrum‘s once-mighty empire has reportedly ceased to be. Obama ate at the original Arlington location of Ray’s twice, once with Joe Biden and another time with Dmitry Medvedev. The Rosslyn Ray’s closed in 2017.

Molly Malone’s

Obama and Biden ate cheeseburgers with service members at the Barracks Row tavern in 2013. It’s now Finn McCool’s.

FireFlies

Obama got a burger with Arne Duncan in this longtime Del Ray hangout in 2014. It announced at the end of 2017 that it would close. Charlie’s on the Avenue now occupies that space.

Scion

Obama took some supporters for lunch here in 2012 and reportedly ordered a cheeseburger. The Dupont staple closed in 2018. Incidentally, Trump’s kids planned a hotel brand called Scion, but like so many of the President’s non-Obama-burger-legacy-destroying initiatives, that venture fizzled out.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.