Restaurateurs Hope Obama's Foodie Rep Whets Appetites

As the president dines, so dines the public

President-elect Barack Obama's public appearances last week at two D.C. restaurants -- Bobby Vans' Steakhouse and Ben's Chili Bowl -- will spark residents' interest in dining out, following a president who hasn't eaten at a Washington restaurant in at least a year, according to Mark Knoller of CBS Radio News, the New York Times reported.

Obama is known to frequent restaurants, and past presidents' preferences have been known to make those restaurants more popular.

The Times noted that President Bill Clinton and his staff had a fondness for Red Sage's Southwestern flavor, making it one of the capital's hottest restaurants during his administration, but it has closed since President George W. Bush took office.

Before Clinton, President George H.W. Bush's taste for the Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, Va., spiked that restaurant's popularity.

With the economy in recession, the industry needs all the business it can get be it partisan or paparazzi-driven.

Also encouraging for local restaurateurs, the Obama Administration comes in amid a little restaurant revival in Petworth, Columbia Heights, North Capitol Hill and the historic -- and historically decimated but currently reviving -- U Street Corridor, Kim Severson reported for the Times.

In the nearby Logan Circle area, Cork already is becoming a popular sport for young members of the incoming administration, according to Bill Burton, Obama's press secretary.

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