Where to Eat If You Want to Be President Slideshow
May 16, 2012
The must-stop spots for politicians on the campaign trail to the White House
Tilt'n Diner, Tilton, N.H.
The Tilt'n Diner is a hot spot for candidates campaigning in the Northeast. In fact, on their web site they state: "Tilt'n Diner opened in 1992, and has been called a 'must stop' on the New Hampshire Presidential Primary campaign trail by The Associated Press." Rick Santorum made an extremely publicized stop there in January.
Baby Boomers, Des Moines, Iowa
Then Senator Barack Obama made Baby Boomers, a cookie joint in Iowa, famous on his first presidential campaign by confirming their cookies as his favorite. This past April, President Obama requested some on a campaign stop in Iowa in April, despite the fact that the bakery was closing down a week later. That's dedication.
Hamburg Inn, Iowa City, Iowa
Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum all made visits to the Hamburg Inn during the Iowa caucuses this year. In past races, Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even fictional president Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen on The West Wing) have all made stops at this popular burger joint in Iowa.
Mary Ann's Diner, Derry, N.H.
Mitt Romney and several other GOP candidates have stopped into this 1950s-style diner in New Hampshire during this campaign cycle. The owner is an independent and says that he is open to hosting candidates from both parties. They'll be chowing down on the state's Best Breakfast, as awarded by The New Hampshire Magazine in 2003.
Beacon Drive-In, Spartanburg, S.C.
This 400-seater is a must-visit for candidates from both parties. Michele Bachmann made the stop this year with bells on, as she danced to Elvis in the parking lot with an elderly customer and breezed away with a "chili cheeseburger-a-plenty" to go.
Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, D.C.
Barack Obama gave the already iconic Ben's Chili Bowl in D.C. a publicity boost when he showed up there for a chili dog in 2008. It continues to draw political figures such as former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Versailles Restaurant, Miami
Every politician courting votes in Florida has to make the obligatory stop at the Miami-based Versailles Diner. Mitt Romney and John McCain both stopped in to campaign and enjoy an authentic Cuban meal, and former President Bill Clinton ate here a number of times.
Charlie Parker's Diner, Springfield, Ill.
Mitt Romney visited this Springfield, Ill., diner for pancakes and omelettes during a campaign stop in March. While there, Romney told a joke, comparing Charlie's Famous Giant Pancake, to the Puerto Rico primary results: "These pancakes are about as large as my win in Puerto Rico last night, I must admit," Romney said. "The margin is just about as good."
Tommy's Country Ham House, Greenville, S.C.
Tommy's is a de rigueur stop for candidates on the trail in South Carolina. The Greenville restaurant made headlines this year when both Romney and Gingrich's campaigns booked events for the same time on the same day. Although a Ham House showdown was avoided by some creative rescheduling, both candidates cracked jokes at their rescheduled appearances. "Callista and I are thrilled to be here, but I have a question — where's Mitt?" Gingrich joked. "I thought he was going to stay and maybe we'd have a little debate here this morning. So I'm kind of confused."
Pizza Ranch, Hull, IA
Ames.Patch.com says that there have been more than 35 visits by Republican candidates this year to Pizza Ranch restaurants in Iowa. The sudden popularity is explained by Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University. "It's a very convenient location where, presumably, the people who go there know what Pizza Ranch is about. It's a good place to find like-minded people who are open to this kind of message." He's referring to the chain's web site language, where they state their vision is "to glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in."
Comma Coffee, Carson City, Nev.
Comma Coffee is a relatively new kid on the block to political campaign stops, but since they opened their doors in 2000, they have hosted Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and even former President Jimmy Carter.
Lizard's Thicket, Columbia, S.C.
Perry and Santorum both enjoyed some down-home Southern cooking at this South Carolina joint. The restaurant has hosted rallies for half the GOP candidates this year and was Hillary Clinton's restaurant of choice during her 2008 campaign for president in Columbia.
The Machine Shed, Rockford, Ill.
Famous for its chocolate-covered bacon and Krispy Kreme cheeseburger, The Machine Shed in Rockford, Ill., has been visited by Mitt Romney and Rick Perry this year.