POTUS Spotting: Obama at Kenny’s Smokehouse

(Ken Thomas/Associated Press)
(Ken Thomas/Associated Press)
Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:26pm

President Barack Obama huddled with local dads today at Kenny’s Smokehouse (732 Maryland Ave. NE), a Capitol Hill barbecue joint not unfamiliar to the first family.

The lunchtime meeting, one of POTUS’ many high-profile dining jaunts around town, lasted about an hour and included four other fathers — two military serviceman, U.S. Army Capt. Joubert Paulino and 1st Lt.William Edwards, and local barbers and “Fatherhood Buzz” mentors Otis “Big O” Gamble and Nurney Mason. Both barbers work at Mason’s Barber Shop (1010 H St. NE), while Mason also trims hair at the House of Representatives barber shop.

Staff told HOH that Obama feasted on pork ribs slathered with spicy barbecue sauce, collard greens and red beans and rice. A restaurant worker said Obama “loved the food” and thanked several workers personally with firm handshakes and generous praise. Although they declined the president’s offer to pay, the worker told HOH others in the group covered the entire tab.

The Obamas are no strangers to Capitol Hill dining, having previously darkened the doors of Art and Soul, Good Stuff Eatery, Sticky Rice, Ted’s Bulletin, Boundary Road and We, the Pizza. Kenny’s, however, seems like a bold choice, given the neighborhood joint’s mixed reviews on Yelp and some of the lackluster feedback floating around Twitter.

“Used to live 2 blocks from Kenny’s BBQ & visited often. But Levi’s Port Cafe by Barracks Row would have been a better BBQ choice for POTUS,” Nu Wexler, spokesman for Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), counseled in under 140 characters.

Others, such as NBC cameraman Jim Long, were far less discriminating.

“Dear travel pool crew with @barackobama, please pick up a large order of BBQ for your colleagues at the federal courthouse. ‪#hungry,” he pleaded from afar.