You could grab a steak with LBJ, some greasy diner food with FDR, or you could sell out and go to TGIF Fridays with your mom.
When the Queen of England visited the U.S. for a White House visit, Roosevelt decided it was time for a cookout and served her the most decadent of American foods: hot dogs. And we know he did so unsarcastically, because he didn’t go all the way and include a PBR and a ripped-sleeve shirt with the meal. In fact, most of Mr. Roosevelt’s diet consisted of “hearty, typically American food,” and one of his favorite foods was as Southern as corned beef hash. And, in true American fashion, much of his typical dinner consisted of breakfast food.
Luckily, Charlotte is in the South, and Charlotte knows how to do Southern Diner food right. Enter: Midnight Diner. They brag that their meat is ground and their fries cut right there in the restaurant, and they’ve become a local favorite because of it. And any Great Depression-era American would appreciate their low prices and friendly service. If you want Diner food fit to serve to the Queen of England, this is it. And if you want to compete with Eleanor, FDR’s wife, you’ve gotta compete with her scrambled eggs. Always on his dinner table, FDR once told Southern sympathizers that he “preferred scrambled eggs to ‘grilled millionaire’ for breakfast.”
Thanks to Jackie K and her taste for all things vogue, the White House kitchen’s cuisine was a la Françoise for most of JFK’s meals. Often, JFK had to put aside his favorite Yankee meals – New England clam chowder and Boston baked beans – in favor of quiches, custards, and poulet au champagne. But, he did so willingly. In fact, vichyssoise quickly became Kennedy’s most frequently ordered meal. Fortunately for Jack, nestled in Charlotte’s artsy NoDa district is Amelie’s French Bakery. With an array of French foods to satisfy his newly adopted Bourgeoisie flavor, Amelie’s is JFK’s café of choice for the days when all he wants is a bowl of vichyssoise after a long day of fighting Cuban crises and Khrushchevian Communism. And, in true French bakery fashion, Amelie’s is open all night, perfect for nursing a hangover from 5Church.
Beef & Bottle
With how much scotch LBJ drank (off the job, of course), he was bound to get the munchies every once in a while. And when he got the munchies, he apparently went big: steak was his food of choice, if given an option. He was from Texas, after all, and it’s been said that it’s hard to leave Texas behind. In fact, a lot has been said to Texas, but all those things really boil down to two: big steaks and jeans. And LBJ loved both of them.
In fact, Beef & Bottle is one of the only places in the area to get a top quality and high dollar steak without dressing up. There’s nothing fancy about it; it just delivers a great steak. From the outside, it’s rustic at best, but on the inside it’s dimly-lit and romantic. Straight to the point and with its own unique swagger, this place is right up LBJ’s alley.
Andrew Jackson was a rough and tumble man who enjoyed food that was just as wild as he was. Between dueling for his wife’s honor and paying off U.S. debt, Jackson dined on duck and chugged glasses of his own hangover-guaranteed drink: Daniel Webster’s punch. While no sane person would ever want to experience Daniel Webster’s punch, all our readers should treat their taste buds to Jackson’s favorite fowl at Customshop, in Elizabeth. The restaurant has two succulent duck entrees, in addition to many other affordable dishes like the ale & cider-braised pork belly starter, the seared yellow fin tuna entrée, and the chocolate brownie soufflé. With an elegantly rustic ambience, an evening at Customshop is a necessity for those with mature food tastes and a willingness to drop a few Jacksons.
Although Wilson didn’t eat much food, he ate a lot of chicken salad. In fact, much of his diet consisted of it, and it is overwhelmingly cited as his favorite food. We can probably thank chicken salad for fueling Wilson through at least 12 of his 14 points, in addition to at least one “W” of WWI. Wilson was a no-nonsense kind of guy, and Chris’ Deli is a no-nonsense kind of place. Despite the deli’s rather hole-in-the-wall appearance and dimly lit, “well-used” (as one Yelp reviewer says) interior, locals rave about it – seriously, they go on and on. And, yes, their chicken salad (and egg salad, tuna salad, and all other sorts of salads) are phenomenal. In fact, it’s often referred to as second only to some of the Jewish delis in New York, and far more friendly. Wilson doesn’t like to take sides, but he takes several of them with his meal at Chris’ Deli.
What does some ice, a couple ounces of white rum, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a squirt of simple syrup get you? JFK’s cocktail of choice, and his favorite pre-dinner drink. Many these days would argue that the daiquiri has garnered a rather feminine reputation, but JFK has garnered more the reputation of a womanizer than a woman. Indeed, our youngest president loved to entertain, and was known for his rebellious, almost frat-boyish habits during his younger days. (In high school, he once exploded a toilet seat with a firecracker, and he later started The Muckers Club, an organization we can only hope was similar to The Marauders from Harry Potter.) And, being a huge fan of the 007 series, Kennedy is often found taking blonde bombshells out on the town at 5Church.
With décor as bold and defined as JFK’s jawline and sharing in his desire to be “New American,” 5Church has become JFK’s favorite for after-dinner drinks. The establishment featuring a unique cocktail list and full bar (where JFK could surely get his favored daiquiri), as well as a full menu of bubbly drinks for his female companions.
Their food has also garnered rave reviews (although it’s a bit more expensive than the drinks), and their menu satisfies JFK’s New England homesickness with sautéed Maine skate and seared sea scallops. As diverse as the nation Kennedy was striving to create, 5Church sometime seems an upscale restaurant, sometimes a foodie bar, and sometimes an electrifying club. Who can blame JFk for becoming a regular?
Famously the first and only Catholic U.S. President, JFK was incredibly proud of his Irish heritage and pretty damn passionate about beer. After all, what’s more Irish than drinking? And car bomb cupcakes, why not? The Dandelion Market offers plenty of both, and takes its name from a famous outdoor market in Dublin. Keeping in the spirit of its namesake, it’s become one of the favorite pubs in Charlotte for those who want a gastro pub without the pretentiousness of a gastro pub. With a down-home, cozy feel and impressive local and foreign beer menu, The Dandelion Market is perfect for those nights JFK needs a break from taking out Marilyn Monroe or Jackie. And, if one of them do happen to follow him there, The Dandelion Market also has a few one-of-a-kind cocktails and an en extensive wine list.