Food  |  News & Politics

The Bidens Went to Dinner and Ordered the Same Dish, Dividing the Internet

The President and First Lady got two orders of rigatoni at Italian restaurant the Red Hen

Rigatoni with fennel sausage at the Red Hen. Photography by Scott Suchman

Joe and Jill Biden went to dinner on Saturday at Bloomingdale Italian restaurant the Red Hen. (No, not that Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, the one that famously turned away Sarah Huckabee Sanders, sparking another Trump-era episode of the culture wars. This one has the same name but is totally unaffiliated.)

Chef and co-owner Mike Friedman tells Washingtonian that POTUS and FLOTUS ordered a couple glasses of Barbera, grilled bread with cultured butter, chicory salad, and two orders of rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu. To which the Twitterati responded: Wait a minute, they ordered the same dish? 

You’re either the type of couple that doesn’t mind a duplicate order on the same table—or you would never, ever dare. This food editor is most certainly in the latter camp. The fun of eating out is trying lots of things, and obviously you need to sample as much of the menu as possible. Plus, as one of my colleagues points out, you don’t want to risk both ending up with a dud dish, and thereby having a miserable evening. More variety improves your odds of a good time. We’re clearly not alone in this world view:

Others suggested the double order might actually be the secret to a long healthy relationship. Or at the very least, who cares? Order whatever the heck they want, regardless of your partner’s cravings.

Surely even the staunchest plate-sharers can appreciate doubling down on a truly great dish. And the Red Hen’s rigatoni is a signature must-order that’s been on the menu since the restaurant opened a decade ago. It’s one of the few exceptions where getting two plates might actually be the ultimate power move.

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.