Well, they’re all saying that Barack Obama is our first president in a long time to be just a “regular guy.” And what do “regular guys” do, just like you and me? They go out to eat, and then they go on Check, Please! and they talk about it!

No, I’m totally serious. Barack Obama will be on Chicago’s Check, Please! (the original incarnation of the show, by the way) on January 16th, 18th, and 20th, according to the Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop website.

We at Check, Please! Bay Area are already hard at work behind the scenes to deliver more to you than just this clip, which has the TEMERITY to cut the President-elect off in mid-sentence, so stay tuned!

This particular episode of Check, Please! was taped back in 2001 — way before the President-elect was even a glint in the White House eye — when series creator and executive producer David Manilow called upon State Senator Obama (a friend of Manilow’s) to appear on the show.

Obama’s restaurant of choice was Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop in Hyde Park, Illinois, and according to the Chicago Tribune article, the episode was shelved because Obama was “too good — too thoughtful, too articulate, not enough of an amateur. He ended up dominating the conversation.” Yikes! Good thing Hillary didn’t have that fodder in her hopper during the primary!

Given the country’s documented obsession with everything the Obamas do — from detailed accounts of workout routines to Paparazzi invading private memorial moments to Harlequin Romance descriptions of Obama’s glinting pectorals (coming out of the Washington Post of all places!) — Dixie’s better start thinking about expanding because they’re about to become a stop on the Obama pilgrimage.

Hm, I wonder if Howard Kurtz and other scrappy pundits will haul various food experts on their shows to chew over just what Obama’s Check, Please! restaurant means to us as a nation and an American people.

If so, it will be Alton Brown’s chance to finally become a pundit.

Check, Please! Barack Obama 9 February,2009Stephanie Lucianovic

  • Hysterical. I am loving how young and RESTED the man looks.

    As for “articulate, thoughtful,” etc., I’m starting to think that BO held court in the playground in 2nd grade, patiently explaining lunchroom strategies and the game of handball to his fellow classmates.

    That’s my president! Swoon.

  • Why in God’s name have I never seen this before?

    Thank you very much for sharing.

  • Michael,

    Well, because it’s the Chicago show and they never released it until now!

  • I am the owner of Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop and it’s sister restaurant, Calypso Cafe (a Caribbean restaurant with jerk chicken as our specialty). Eight years ago, Dixie Kitchen was the favorite of the Obamas… over the past few years the Obamas have visited Calypso Cafe even more often than Dixie. In fact, President-elect Obama mentions Calypso Cafe as one of his favorites in the New Yorker magazine article published a couple of months ago. How fortunate am I? In forty years, my grandchildren are going to be able to say: “George Washington slept elsewhere, but President Obama and his family ate at my Grandma’s restaurants.”


Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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