The ‘Bill Clinton Ate Here’ Effect

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  10.26.10 | 12:01 PM ET

Wherever former President Clinton eats, crowds follow. Writes David Segal: “[F]ew phrases are more bankable to restaurants around the world than this: ‘Bill Clinton ate here.’” Here’s why:

It’s widely (and correctly) assumed that he has good connections everywhere he visits, so he’s unlikely to wind up at a dud. More than most celebrities, he seems like a person who appreciates good food, and before he had heart surgery, he was known for his wide-ranging appetite.

And when Mr. Clinton visits a restaurant, everybody in the room knows it. Douglas Band, an aide who frequently travels with Mr. Clinton, says that his boss introduces himself to every diner, as well as every waiter and every kitchen staff member. He will always pose for photographs and sign guest books. Someone from his staff will send a thank-you note a few days later.

Anyone who trails in Mr. Clinton’s dining path will eat well, but should know that his taste in restaurants, when he actually selects them, runs to the bright, lively and unfussy. The white table cloth, 10-course prix fixe experience is not his style.

I’ve happily followed in Clinton’s dining path, here in D.C. and elsewhere. I regret waiting until my final day in Little Rock, a Sunday, to track down one of his favorite spots. Alas, it was closed.

3 Comments for The ‘Bill Clinton Ate Here’ Effect

Eric 10.26.10 | 4:08 PM ET

Nice post. I went to the restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala where Pres. Clinton ate! Even ordered the dish he had (a ton of meat).

Zaki 10.27.10 | 2:07 AM ET

It’s nonsense, what the great thing is where the noble person eats!!! I’m sure that every restaurant was attended by some noble and famous person, president or rock star. It’s stupid, let Clinton eat in quiet

callie 11.07.10 | 12:58 PM ET

We were surprised to find a taverna on the island of Samos, Greece with photos of Bill Clinton…two of him posing with each arm around the taverna owner’s daughters, and one with him shaking the taverna owner’s hand. 

The photos were framed and displayed on the case with the day’s food offerings.

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.