Thrillist: The History and Art of the Power Lunch in DC

From Thrillist by Lani Furbank:

“For those of us eating $12 salads overtop our keyboards, the idea of the “power lunch” seems pretty foreign. Is it Mad Men executives sipping one too many martinis with clients? Or, perhaps, the thought of not-so-fashionable 1980s pantsuits and banker briefcases come to mind.

But, in DC, the power lunch is alive and well — and it denotes big names making big deals. Presidents, civil rights leaders, and dignitaries have all had their fair share of white tablecloth meetings that shaped the course of history. Throughout the mid-20th century, the power lunch was practically analogous with DC’s dining scene. Though it’s come a long way from those days, this distinctly Washingtonian tradition is still going strong.

The term itself was first coined by Esquire magazine in 1979 — describing midday meals at the legendary Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan that would end “with the decisions and the deals that will keep you in books, clothes, wine, and ideas for the rest of the year.”

But the phenomenon had been taking place in DC long before that. “It fits Washington really well,” explains John DeFerrari, the author of the book Historic Restaurants of Washington, DC: Capital Eats. “It evokes a sense of people with power and influence getting together. Some version of power lunches has been going on here for decades — not just since the 1980s when the word became common.” Silver-haired and soft-spoken, DeFerrari has made a career of studying the history of his beloved hometown, which he chronicles in his blog, Streets of Washington. While he notes there was never one definitive restaurant for power dining, a few distinguished themselves over the years as go-to establishments.

Whether you want to pay homage to historical moments from the Kennedy era, rub elbows with current DC elite, or create new power lunch memories of your own, plenty of restaurants in the District are still open to remind you that you’re dining in the den of democracy.”

Read the rest of the article HERE!

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