The restaurant at the center of a celebrity chef's bizarre feud with Ivanka Trump is a secretive Washington, DC go-to that's been a favourite of politicians since the '90s

Cafe Milano/YelpOutside Cafe Milano.
  • Cafe Milano has long been a favourite spot for politicians and other high-profile Washington, DC locals.
  • It was recently the center of attention when celebrity chef Jose Andres was denied access into the restaurant for the Alfalfa Club dinner’s super exclusive, VIP after-party.
  • In a Tweet, Andres accused Ivanka Trump of blocking him from being admitted into the private after-party.
  • The next day, after a text-message conversation with Trump, Andres tweeted that he believed she didn’t “personally” have anything to do with the incident.

Cafe Milano has been a favourite haunt for politicians and other high-profile Washington, DC locals since it opened in 1992, on the same day President Bill Clinton was elected. The Italian restaurant, located less than six miles away from Capitol Hill, is known as a secure meeting place for after-work discussions, as well as some “wheeling and dealing,” as owner Franco Nuschese told The New York Times.

This past weekend, celebrity chef Jose Andres – who, in 2016, was planning to open a restaurant inside the president’s DC hotel but ended up pulling out of the lease after after Trump made disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants – tweeted a photo of himself outside Cafe Milano, claiming he was denied access to the Alfalfa Club dinner’s after-party, because of Ivanka Trump.

On Sunday, after a text-message conversation with Trump, Andres tweeted again, saying that he believed she didn’t “personally” have anything to do with the incident.

While each administration has had their favourite after-hours spots, Cafe Milano has proved to be a consistent safe space for politicians. Since last year, members from the Trump administration have been spotted there.

Ahead, take a look at the dishes, atmosphere, and who’s been seen inside.

Cafe Milano is located in Georgetown and is a hot spot for politicians from both major parties, as well as journalists.

It’s been open since 1992, when President Bill Clinton was elected into office. The former president still regularly pays visits to the restaurant.

The restaurant’s menu varies from pasta dishes in the $A30 range up to a sole dish that’s priced at $A80.

The restaurant’s owner, Franco Nuschese, understands the importance of his customers’ privacy and security. He rarely gives interviews, and when press calls to confirm sightings, his staff are notoriously tight-lipped.

In addition to the Secret Service agents that accompany diners when necessary, men in grey suits reportedly line the walls during dinner service, keeping a close eye on the customers.

Source: The New York Times

Since last year, some members of the Trump administration have been spotted at the restaurant.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was seen having dinner with Senator Mark Warner. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin have also visited on separate occasions.

Source: The New York Times

Last March, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was seen having dinner with Senator Joe Manchin, along with two journalists.

Source: Politico

And just before inauguration last year, Hillary Clinton dined there.

Source: The Washington Post

During the Obama administration the restaurant was just as popular. The president dined there often, including a celebration lunch after his daughter Malia’s graduation.

Source: Eater

On a particularly busy night in 2016, Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett was there, while former Secretary of State John Kerry sat at a separate table, and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder dined with team president Bruce Allen at another. Washington Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld was also there with his wife.

Source: The Washington Post

Although President Trump has yet to visit, it seems it’s only a matter of time.

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