Food  |  News & Politics

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris Dine at Le Diplomate on Memorial Day

The President and VP made their first joint restaurant appearance at one of DC's buzziest eateries

Photograph by Scott Suchman

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were joined by VP Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff for lunch at trendy French restaurant Le Diplomate on Memorial Day. It’s Biden’s first sit-down dining outing as president. He’s previously stopped for bagels at Georgetown’s Call Your Mother and picked up Cinco de Mayo tacos at Las Gemelas near Union Market to highlight the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The two couples were greeted by cheers as their motorcade pulled up unannounced around 11:40 AM, following a morning visit to Arlington Cemetery. They were then escorted through a side entrance on 14th Street.

The Bidens have frequented the buzzy brasserie from Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr several times before. The President has previously opted for the popular “burger Americain,” a riff on the fast food classic with pickles and American cheese adorned with miniature French and American toothpick flags.

The restaurant is famed for catering to VIPs, or as the staff calls them “PPX,” personnes particulièrement extraordinaire. Jill Biden was previously known in the dining room as an “MA” for “Must Accommodate.” Lesser VIPs, such as neighborhood regulars, are dubbed “TTA,” for “Try to Accommodate.”

The restaurant is a hotspot for the political elite on both sides of the aisle. Barack and Michelle Obama have been there. So has Ivanka Trump. (Her father has not. He only ate at one DC restaurant in his entire four year in office—the steakhouse in his own hotel). Pretty much any senator or big wig you can think of has been spotted there at some point. In 2018, former EPA chief Scott Pruitt famously got in trouble for wanting to use the flashing lights and sirens in his motorcade to get to a Le Diplomate reservation more quickly.

Despite its bipartisan support, right-wing pundits already seem to be using the restaurant choice as an opportunity to criticize Biden. “I guess the White House advance and comms teams had the day off,” tweeted Sean Spicer, noting that it’s a “very high end French restuarant [sic].”

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.