4 Leading Presidential Candidates: What Restaurants Do they Eat At?

Even a presidential candidate needs to eat. Politicians and their staffers log thousands of hours on the road as they vie for people’s votes, and when your home is a campaign bus or a hotel room, cooking for yourself is a luxury. Running a major political campaign means spending a lot on food, whether it’s pizza for hungry staff and volunteers or dinner at a five-star restaurant with a wealthy donor.

Eater combed through Federal Election Commission (FEC) records to see exactly where the candidates were eating and how much they spent on food during the third quarter of 2015. Their tastes ranged from super-swanky to ultra-low-budget. Hilary Clinton’s campaign ran up a tab of more than $10,000 at LA’s sleek Elevate Lounge, where attendees had to fork over $2,700 to get in the door, Eater reported. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio’s campaign spent hundreds of dollars on multiple visits to Chick-fil-A. He also allotted the greatest portion of his campaign spending to food.

Below are some of the restaurants favored by four of the leading presidential candidate’s campaigns.

Note: When compiling the list below we ignored payments to private chefs, individuals, and catering companies.

1. Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Biggest bill: $15,071 at Manhattan’s 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar owned by Jay-Z. Clinton attended a fundraising event at the club in late September.

Cheapest eats: $15 at Dunkin’ Donuts in Des Moines, Iowa.

Favorite place to dine: The Clinton campaign ordered from Alley Cat Pizzeria in Manchester, N.H., on three occasions in June and September, spending $236 on their last visit. The restaurant specializes in New-York-style pies and claims to offer the city’s largest pizza.

Fast food fix: Jimmy John’s CEO John Liautaud is a reliable donor to Republican candidates, according to OpenSecrets.org, but that didn’t stop the Clinton campaign from dropping $499 on sandwiches from his chain of sub shops.

2. Marco Rubio

marco rubio


Biggest bill: $15,219 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The candidate hosted a “fourth quarter strategy session” for big donors at the Nevada casino and hotel in October.

Cheapest eats: $1 at a Hy-Vee grocery store in West Des Moines.

Favorite place to dine: Starbucks. The Florida senator’s campaign reported more than 20 separate transactions at the ubiquitous coffee chain.

Fast food fix: The Rubio campaign loves its chicken sandwiches. They spent $995 at Chick-fil-A in the third quarter of 2015.

3. Bernie Sanders

bernie sanders

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Biggest bill: $3,954 at the Harrah’s casino and hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The resort has several restaurants on site, including the upscale 360 Steakhouse, which overlooks the Missouri River and downtown Omaha, Nebraska.

Cheapest eats: $5 at a Hy-Vee in Des Moines.      

Favorite place to dine: The Sanders campaign dined three times at Hen of the Wood in Burlington, Vermont, spending an average of $234 per visit. The menu at this well-regarded restaurant (4.5 stars on Yelp) changes daily and the focus is on using local ingredients.

Fast food fix: The Dog Joint is a Chicago fast food spot that dishes up the city’s signature hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and Polish sausage. The Sanders campaign spent $236 there on September 17.

4. Donald Trump

donald trump


Biggest bill: $10,731 at the Hy-Vee in Oskaloosa, Iowa. In July, the Trump campaign hosted a rally and picnic for supporters in the town of 11,000 just east of Des Moines.

Cheapest eats: $7 at a Hy-Vee in West Des Moines.

Favorite place to dine: Only 24 expenditures on food are listed in the Trump campaign’s FEC report, including two payments totaling $158 to Bloom’s Tavern in New York City. The Irish-style bar and restaurant serves pub grub like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips, along with burgers, steaks, and salads.

Fast food fix: The Trump campaign spent $185 at a Subway in Milford, Conn., in September.

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