BLT Steak Has Closed in DC

The Obamas used to love it.

BLT Steak after its recent renovation. Photograph courtesy BLT Steak.

BLT Steak, the sleek steakhouse near the White House frequented by the Obamas, has closed after nearly two decades in business.

The dining room opened to much fanfare in 2006 as an offshoot of a New York bistro-steakhouse from chef Laurent Tourondel (who had a messy split with the business in 2011). Chef Victor Albisu, who’d later go on to launch the Taco Bamba empire, was among its early executive chefs, and the restaurant quickly became known for its complimentary popovers, high-end steaks, and celebrity/political clientele.

The Obamas, particularly Michelle, repeatedly dined at BLT Steak while occupying the White House. The First Lady even celebrated her 48th birthday there—while Alex Ovechkin dined at a table nearby. Over the years, the place has been frequented by plenty of other big names, including Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, and Jeff Bezos. In 2017, the restaurant ended up in the news when New York Times reporters dining there overheard White House attorneys loudly discussing how then-President Donald Trump should respond to the Russia investigation. (The place made for excellent eavesdropping generally.)

The restaurant closed for several months and reopened with a full renovation in March of 2022. “Our team at BLT is very optimistic that the city will return to the vibrant downtown culture for which Washington is renowned as the pandemic is hopefully winding down,” CEO Jimmy Haber said in a press release at the time.

While BLT Steak may have been a favorite of the Obamas, its sister restaurant, BLT Prime in the Trump hotel, was a favorite of the Trumps. It closed in 2022 after whirlwind years as the go-to gathering place for the right-wing elite.

Representatives for BLT Steak have not yet responded to a request for comment.

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.