President Obama is committed to opening the doors of the White House and truly making it the People’s House. Normally reserved for senior level White House Staff, Cabinet Members, and selected guests, the White House Mess is now open to the general public one weekend per month. Advance reservations are required.
The White House Mess consists of three small dining rooms located in the basement of the White House next door to the Situation
Room. This exclusive dining facility is run by the US Navy.
The Mess is decorated with
handsome wood paneling, nautical trim, and ship paintings.
The largest of the three dining rooms seats about 50 people at a dozen tables adorned with elegant table linens, fresh flowers, and official White House china.
During the work week, the White House Mess is widely used by senior staff. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Mess dining room; dinner is available for take-out orders only. Happy Hours are on Fridays.
Breakfast will be served at 9:00 AM. The menu includes fresh fruits, cereal, a selection of pastries, and grilled-to-order breakfast items. Beverages include coffee, tea, milk, and juice. Below is the standard White House Mess breakfast menu.
Lunch will be served at 11:45 AM. The four-page menu varies and includes a selection of salads, sandwiches, and entree items. The lunch menu also includes a Soup of the Day which can be a traditional favorite such as Navy Bean or the recently-introduced Chilled Cucumber. In addition, Chicken Noodle soup is served daily. Beverages include soft drinks, milk, iced tea, and juice. Below is a sample four-page White House Mess lunch menu.
Harvest fresh vegetable platter
The West Wing chimichangas
All guests will be required to go through a security screening process. The following items are prohibited:
The interesting history of the White House Mess is printed on the back of every menu.
"It has been recorded as far back as 1880 aboard the Presidential Yacht Despatch, while President Rutherford B. Hayes was in office, that Navy Stewards were first utilized to provide food service to the Commander in Chief. Since that time, the Navy has assigned their best Culinary Specialists to the Presidential Food Service to prepare the finest foods and provide outstanding service for the President throughout the world.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Presidential Retreat tucked away in the Catoctin Mountains and named it "Shangri-La" (Renamed Camp David by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 in honor of his grandson David). President Roosevelt directed the Navy to provide messing services at "Shangri-La" and that Navy Stewards from his yacht USS Potomac operate the facility. This established the precedent for Navy Personnel to serve the President and his staff ashore.
In 1951 while President Harry S. Truman was in Office, Rear Admiral Robert L. Dennison, Naval Aide to the President, recommended a Commissioned Officers Mess be established at the White House. On June 11, 1951 the Presidential Food Service was established under the guidance of Lieutenant Commander Leo W. Roberts, SC, USN; Presidential Mess Officer aboard USS Williamsburg. Following several decades of naval tradition and pride in direct support to our nations's President, the Presidential Food Service functions much the same way it did in its earlier years.
During its prestigious history, the Presidential Food Service has received seven Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, the Navy Unit Commendation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for continuous outstanding performance in direct support to the President of the United States."