Celebrate Presidents Day at these 4 historical restaurants

From the restaurant on George Washington’s own estate, to a King Street spot where the Obamas celebrated Valentine’s Day, here are the local eateries presidents have loved.

president george bush and george w. bush with peking gourmet inn owner
Former President George W. Bush (left) and former President George H. Bush (right) with Peking Gourmet Inn owner George Tsui (middle). (Photo courtesy of Peking Gourmet Inn)

As an area that has bloomed from its proximity to the nation’s capital, there’s no surprise that Northern Virginia restaurants have had frequent visits from past presidents. 

If you’re looking to celebrate Presidents Day with a dose of history, make your reservations for one of the following four places, and you’ll be dining like a commander in chief in no time. 

Gadsby’s Tavern
With its structure built in 1785, it comes as no surprise that the walls of Gadsby’s Tavern are filled with history, and presidential history at that. Despite the tavern’s property exchanging many hands over the years (and transforming into multiple uses within the building), the now restaurant and museum had hosted George Washington on multiple occasions, as well as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. Guests can enjoy historic classics, such as Martha’s puff pastry (in honor of the first, first lady), Surrey Co. peanut soup or even “George Washington’s Favorite,” a grilled duck breast with scalloped potatoes, corn pudding, rotkraut and port wine orange glaze. Cheers to yesteryear! // 138 N. Royal St., Alexandria

Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant
Although Gadsby’s Tavern may have been “George Washington’s favorite,” if the president were alive today, it’s hard to imagine he would want to dine anywhere other than his very own restaurant at his Mount Vernon estate. If you want a real dose of history in honor of the holiday, take a tour of the mansion and grounds, and follow it up with dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant. On the menu you’ll find salads, soups, sandwiches and more, including “George Wasington’s Cheddar Burger,” an 8-ounce, all-natural Black Angus beef patty served with French fries. Turkey pie, the Inn’s Famous Peanut & Chestnut soup, and Colonial Hoecake (corn cake topped with country ham, sauteed crabmeat and hollandaise sauce) are all up for grabs on the classic-turned-modern menu. // 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon

Peking Gourmet Inn
Nestled in Falls Church since 1978, this Chinese restaurant has brought John Travolta and Psy (the infamous creator of Gangnam Style) to the table, but it’s also attracted former President George W. Bush and former President George H. Bush on multiple occasions. That might be an understatement. The Bush family ate so frequently at the NoVA location, bullet-proof glass was installed next to their regular table, N17. If you’re not in the mood for those more traditional meals of the Colonial era, wine and dine while checking out the wall of framed photos featuring local and national politicians alike, and enjoy “the usual” of George W. Bush: Peking duck, spicy shredded beef, lamb chops and jumbo shrimp. You’ll have to order off of the regular menu (of which, the Bush family didn’t bother), but you’ll still be sitting at one of the family’s favorites. // 6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church

You might have caught this King Street location making its appearance on our 2019 50 Best Restaurants list back in November, but more than seven years before, the restaurant was on the map as a go-to spot for former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle. The two dined at the location to celebrate Valentine’s Day during his first term as president, and according to an eyewitness, enjoyed the Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu, as well as a glass of red wine for Michelle, and a martini for Barack. If you’re looking to skip the crowd and four-course dinner on Valentine’s Day (aren’t we all?), celebrate Presidents Day instead on the second floor this year, just like the Obamas. // 1120 King St., Alexandria

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