Ribs that are 'too big to fail' earn First Couple 'ribbing' about healthy eating from media...Video after jump
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were on the ground for less than half an hour in Asheville when they made a stop for lunch at 12 Bones Smokehouse, an eatery in the River Arts District. The city bills itself as "the world's first foodtopian society," and Candidate Obama put 12 Bones on the national map when he visited in 2008, during the final weeks of his campaign.
Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, who is traveling with the First Couple, tweeted: "Plates of ribs here at 12 Bones Smokehouse give new meaning to 'too big to fail.'" Pool reports that the President and Mrs. Obama greeted excited patrons as they entered the restaurant, and posed for photos. The President then waited in line to place his order, summoning Mrs. Obama by calling out "Michelle" because she was busy chatting with customers. Their orders: House-smoked ribs, baked beans, greens, corn pudding, macaroni & cheese, and cornbread. To drink: That good ol' Southern favorite, Sweet Tea (above).
The video, above, seems to have been taken by an employee (?) of 12 Bones, since it is from behind the counter. It was posted on YouTube by Pattiykat.
The Obamas were given order #99, and sat down to wait, chatting with a patron at a nearby table. A 12 Bones employee noted, "Everyone waits in line here. We serve 600 people in five hours on Fridays." The President and Mrs. Obama ate their lunch in the restaurant, as customers tried to get more photos.
Before jumping back into their waiting SUV, the President and Mrs. Obama chatted with customers at outdoor picnic tables. A big crowd had gathered along the street by the time the motorcade was rolling, with some holding "welcome" signs. The President and First Lady are staying at Grove Park Inn, a local resort.
The First Couple is getting flak about the BBQ lunch by some members of the media who've accompanied them to Asheville. CNN's Ed Henry, moments ago, announced onscreen, jokingly, that "the president and first lady are taking their healthy eating initiative to Asheville." CBS's Mark Knoller tweeted "Not quite on Mrs. Obama's 'fight obesity' diet." The Washington Post weighed in with "Not exactly the kind of diet that first lady Michelle Obama is encouraging for children as part of her anti-obesity campaign." Pool reports that the First Couple went hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains following their lunch.
12 Bones is owned and cheffed by Tom Montgomery and Sabra Kelley, who experienced a big boost in business after President Obama's 2008 visit. BBQ platters run from between $7.50 for a half chicken plate to $18.00 for a full Baby Back Rack, which is 12 bones. Two sides and house-made cornbread are included; the full menu is here. (Above: President Obama during his 12 Bones visit in October 2008)
Information: There are two 12 Bones locations. The President and Mrs. Obama visited the one in the River Arts District: 5 Riverside Drive, Asheville, NC 28801-3134. Phone: (828) 253-4499.
Related: The Obamas had dinner at Corner Kitchen restaurant on Saturday night. The Asheville Brewing Company created a special ale in honor of the Presidential visit. Asheville bills itself as "the only Foodtopian Society in the world," and has seven microbreweries, 17 active farmers markets, and about 250 restaurants.