Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan is being dubbed the White House of the North.(Photo: Julienne Schaer)
NEW YORK—Donald Trump could eat anywhere. But the new president prefers simple fare.
Trump Tower has been dubbed the “White House of the North” because his wife and First Lady Melania Trump and son will continue to reside there rather than living in the White House.
New York has been nicknamed many things, but this turn in the political spotlight is a new one. Fifth Avenue has become a police barricade, but businesses are still open and calling for visitors to show up. And many have the new coveted selfie—a picture in front of Trump Tower. Tourists who can talk their way into Trump Tower can take photos inside, and buy “Make America Great Again” hats and other campaign souvenirs from the building’s gift store.
“‘White House North’ is a new twist to New York City’s continued evolution and appeal,” says Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing organization. “Visitors flock to the city for so many reasons, this being just one new and unique facet for the destination. Fifth Avenue and its world class shopping are already iconic draws, but now the entire Midtown area will only be further magnified.”
The Trump International Hotel, across from the acclaimed Time-Warner Center, is another place crowds are congregating. A destination itself, the Time Warner Center is home to shops like Michael Kors and Swarovski and larger-than-life sculptures by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
According to Cindy Adams, the prominent New York Post gossip columnist and a friend of Trump’s for many years, he is a hard worker who takes many of his meals at his residence with his wife, or at one of his numerous properties in New York.
“He’s not a regular restaurant-goer,” says Adams. “He has restaurants in Trump Tower.”
But in late November, when he was considering former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for Secretary of State, Trump dined with him and his incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus at Jean Georges, the three-Michelin star restaurant located inside Trump International Hotel, near Central Park. For appetizers, the trio ordered a garlic soup with thyme, sautéed frog legs, caper-raisin emulsion and scallops with caramelized cauliflower, according to a briefing given to reporters.
Adams says Trump likes to go to events around the city, such as movie openings, boxing matches, and the first New York Yankees game of the year at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
“I see him always at the opening day of the Yankees,” Adams says, where he sits in an exclusive box.
According to Adams, he also goes to the venerable 21 Club, an upscale restaurant that serves classic America fare, where Trump’s go-to dish is the “21 Burger”—well done and with French Fries. Trump also frequents the lesser-known Nino’s, an Italian eatery on the Upper East Side.
Ben Widdicombe, a society writer in New York City, says that Trump also likes the Waverly Inn in Greenwich Village, which is owned by Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, a publication the President has criticized.
“Even though he’s engaged in a war with Graydon Carter, he goes there,” Widdicombe says.
But Trump prefers to take his VIP companions to Jean Georges, among them Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Even at a fancy restaurant, he tends to order steak and vegetables, Widdicombe says. And he likes burgers at the Jackson Hole, “home of the 7 oz. burger,” according to its website.
Jackson Hole has locations in Queens, the outer borough of New York City where he grew up, but he now prefers locations closer to his home at Trump Tower.
“Donald Trump is a meat and potatoes kind of guy,” Widdicombe says.
Trump likes casual food, Adams agrees. A burger pleases him, though he does enjoy his hotel restaurants and an occasional stop at the Ralph Lauren Polo Bar. The restaurant is so exclusive that the doorman checks guests in via iPad and the public relations personnel refuse to provide photos.
Trump’s relationship with food has been in the spotlight as long as he has been.
New Yorkers frowned upon him when he ate pizza with a fork and knife with Sarah Palin at Famiglia Pizzeria in Times Square in 2011, as the former Alaska governor considered a presidential bid.
Once he was elected president, Trump lashed out at Vanity Fair for a scathing review of the Trump Grill, a steakhouse in the lobby of Trump Tower.