Food

Pete Buttigieg Dined Out, So Naturally the Restaurant Sent a Press Release

DC dining establishments are eager for buzz for anyone White House adjacent

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg dined at Fight Club. Pictured here with chef/owner Andrew Markert and co-owner Nathan Berger. Photograph courtesy Fight Club.

Forget the first rule of Fight Club. After Fight Club—the Capitol Hill restaurant taking over Beuchert’s Saloon—hosted Pete Buttigieg for dinner on Saturday night, it broadcast the details of his patio meal in a full page press release. Only in This Town is there an appetite for information about the Transportation Secretary’s mezcal cocktail and buttermilk-brined fried chicken sandwich with Crystal hot sauce mayo.

Buttigieg and his husband Chasten are quickly establishing themselves as the hot dining VIPs of the Biden administration—and restaurants are ready to brag about a visit. When “Mayor Pete” recently grabbed tacos and beer with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at Mission in Navy Yard, the restaurant’s publicist sent out an email with the subject line “cool celebrity sighting.” (And yeah, we wrote about it.)

Meanwhile, Chasten was spotted in March with fellow politico husband-about-town Doug Emhoff enjoying a coffee at Capitol Hill’s Wine & Butter. The Second Gentleman has likewise stirred up DC media interest for his eating endeavors. PR folks were quick to send out pics when he ordered a curried chicken bowl named after his wife at fast-casual Immigrant Food, and again when he brought his team to the cherry blossom pop-up bar at Hook Hall.

For the past four years, controversy has followed administration officials dining out. (Remember Virginia’s Red Hen booting Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Or protesters interrupting Kirstjen Nielsen’s Mexican meal?) With Democrats back in power, liberal Washington is starved for political VIPs whose mundane routines it can get excited about. While President Joe Biden has already visited more local restaurants than his predecessor (no big feat considering Donald Trump never ventured beyond this steakhouse in his own hotel), he’s poised to be much more of a homebody than Barack Obama, who famously hit up trendy restaurants around town for date nights with Michelle. In his absence, dining establishments are angling for buzz from whatever other boldfaced White House-adjacent names come their way.

Which is why we now know, thanks to a press release, that Buttigieg says thank you every time something is brought or cleared from his table.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.