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Obama Library Will Have 'Healthy Dining Options' ... Clinton's Has Bacon

By Joe Ward | August 28, 2015 7:02am
 Michelle Obama has made healthy eating a top issue.
Michelle Obama has made healthy eating a top issue.
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Barack Obama Foundation

CHICAGO — In the Barack Obama Presidential Library envisioned by the Obamas, there will be an interactive museum, expansive greenspace with spots for quiet reflection, performance spaces ... and "healthy dining options."

Chicago-born First Lady Michelle Obama has made healthy eating a key pillar in her White House work, including planting broccoli, spinach, bok choy, radishes and lettuce on the South Lawn.

Critics have mocked her campaign at times, questioning if the first lady would try to take away their french fries.

An architect for the Obama Library hasn't even been picked, and there's no menu to see what the Obamas want served to the hungry masses visiting the South Side center.

But there's a good chance it won't look like the menus at other presidential libraries.

For example:

— The "Forty Two" bistro in the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., has a special this week: candied bacon on a smoked cheddar cheeseburger.

There's also a smoked ham, egg and cheddar melt with mayo and mustard on country white bread; fried Arkansas catfish; a smoked catfish tamale; and chicken wings tossed in hot sauce with smoked maple butter over a corn bread waffle.

— President John F. Kennedy’s library has the “JFK Café,” which serves breakfast, light lunch and specializes in sweets, including “ice cream novelties,” cookies, brownies, candy bars, special cakes, pies and tortes, according to its website.  

— The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum has a cafeteria that specializes in comfort food, a nod to Carter’s southern roots and the library’s location in Atlanta. Its base menu changes regularly. This week, the library was serving up mac and cheese.

—  President Ronald Reagan’s massive library complex in Simi Valley, Calif., has two eateries: Reagan’s Country Café and Ronald Reagan Pub, styled as an Irish pub. That place serves ice cream, sandwiches, salads and beer. The country café serves burgers, sandwiches, pizza and hotdogs.

— You can’t sit and eat and President Herbert Hoover’s library, but you can get some water and candy from the gift shop, according to its website.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s library operates a café only in the summer months, called Uncle Sam’s Canteen. It serves mostly sandwiches and other light fare, said a staffer at the library.

Many of the older presidential libraries do not include eating establishments, as they were built when the libraries more closely resembled a university library and not a state-of-the-art museum. The libraries for George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry Truman do not have restaurants.

The library cafe menu that could mirror the Obamas' the most is the one honoring the man Obama succeeded. President George W. Bush’s library in Dallas has “Café 43" that boasts organic and locally sourced items. Its menu mostly consists of sandwiches, salads and a few seafood entrees.

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