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Dine at the White House



The public "Dine at the White House" program will no longer be offered under the Trump Administration due to the repeal of the Obama Administration's openness and transparency doctrine. You are welcome, however, to make a reservation at one of the fine restaurants located in the Trump International Hotel just down the street.

About this Program

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

White House Mess

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.


The White House Mess



Dine at the White House Program

West basement entrance to White House Mess
On the first weekend of each month, the White House Mess will be open to the public for breakfast and lunch. Guests with advance reservations will enter the White House grounds via the Southwest Gate.

After going through security, walk up West Executive Avenue and turn right into the West Basement entrance. Take the first right and go down the stairs. The White House Mess will be on the left.

Be sure to admire the detailed model of the USS Constitution and look for the 1790 mess gong from the ship hanging on the wall above the wood podium with the gold presidential seal. The maitre 'd will be there to escort you to your assigned table.



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.


White House Mess menu - breakfast



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.


White House Mess menu - lunch White House Mess menu


White House Mess souvenir menu napkins candy cup


What's included in White House Dining Package

  • Breakfast or lunch at the White House Mess
  • Commemorative photo taken by Official White House Photographer
  • Souvenir White House Mess menu and assorted items including official napkin, coffee cup, sugar packets, and candy



Dining reservations can be made up to one year in advance. Breakfast costs $50 per person. Lunch is $65 per person. Tipping is not allowed. Prices include commemorative photo and souvenirs. In order to maximize the number of guests served, singles and couples may be combined to form complete tables.

Reservations are accepted on a first come first served basis by clicking here. Additional information regarding parking and check-in procedures will be sent out upon confirmation. Please plan to arrive at the White House 30 minutes prior to your assigned reservation time.



Recent Visitors to the White House Mess

As proof of the Obama Administration's commitment to creating an unprecedented level of openness, we are proud to share our list of recent guests to the White House Mess:


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View more White House Visitor Access Reports



The White House Mess Menu Photo Gallery

  • White House Mess breakfast omelette

    Western omelet

  • White House Mess breakfast waffles


  • White House Mess lunch vegetables

    Harvest fresh vegetable platter

  • White House Mess lunch chimichanga

    The West Wing chimichangas

  • White House Mess lunch shrimp

    Grilled shrimp

  • White House Mess burger

    Veggie burger



Security Information

All guests will be required to go through a security screening process. The following items are prohibited:

  • Outside food and beverages of any kind
  • Cigars, pipes, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, chewing gum
  • Cameras, video recorders or any type of recording device
  • Knives of any size
  • Aerosols
  • Extraordinarily strong perfume
  • Fireworks/smoke bombs
  • Animals
  • Real or simulated guns/ammunition
  • Mace, electric stun guns, martial arts weapons, slingshots
U.S. Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other personal items.


Hallway outside White House Mess - President Obama


White House Mess table and mirror - dining room


White House Mess table setting



Join President Obama for Happy Hours at the White House Mess

The public is now invited to join President Obama and his staff at their regular Happy Hours on Friday afternoons. Read more about it.


White House Mess Happy Hours



History of the White House Mess

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."



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