@presidentsbesnackin Reflection

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For my final project, I created four TikTok videos that introduced viewers to restaurants where United States presidents have eaten in the DMV. The four restaurants I visited were Old Ebbitt Grill, Good Stuff Eatery, Martin’s Tavern, and Las Gemelas Taqueria. Without planning it, I ended up choosing restaurants in different pockets of DC, which is nice to show how the presidents meander all over the city for a good bite to eat.

Old Ebbitt Grill was founded in 1865, making it the oldest saloon in Washington. The saloon is believed to have been first located on the edge of present-day Chinatown, and after moving to several new locations, it currently resides in the National Press Building at 14th and F Streets NW. Numerous presidents dined at the restaurant, including Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Warren Harding. President William McKinley is said to have lived there during his tenure in Congress. The history of Old Ebbitt Grill is so rich and interesting, and it’s paired with great food. Known for its raw bar, I ordered oysters and they were delicious. Although, I’m a sucker for any good oysters with mignonette. The environment of Old Ebbitt Grill is also really neat and I believe my TikTok did an adequate job showing how the restaurant has consistently been special in DC’s history.

Good Stuff Eatery is one of my favorite burger places. Ever. When my family and I first visited DC, I was 13 years old. I have a very distinct memory of eating at Good Stuff. On vacations, my parents do not believe in ubering or driving places, and instead like to walk everywhere to truly engage with a city. While I generally love this practice, it is not suited for the winter of DC. We visited in the middle of February and one day we were walking around in the cold rain trying to find somewhere to eat. Finally, after my sisters and I were sobbing at how distraught we were (the drama! but I stand by it), we stepped into Good Stuff and I don’t know if another burger will ever taste as good as that burger did. In 2009, to celebrate President Obama’s inauguration, Chef Mendelsohn created the “ Prez Obama Burger” (now the “Prez Burger”) and the “Michelle Melt” (now the “Good Stuff Melt”). Well, that fateful day in 2014, I ordered the Prez Obama Burger and a milkshake. After learning how Obama took his debt team to the same location (Capitol Hill) in 2011, I knew I had to include Good Stuff in my TikTok videos.

Similar to Old Ebbit Grill, Martin’s Tavern also has a rich history. The Boston Braves’ 1914 shortstop William Gloyd “Billy” Martin founded Martin’s tavern in 1933, making it one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in D.C.  Located in Georgetown, the restaurant has hosted each US president from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush. Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson (then a novice congressman) dined in Booth #24 numerous times in the 1940s. John F. Kennedy lived a couple blocks from Martin’s and visited the restaurant after Sunday’s mass. On June 24, 1953, JFK proposed to Jackie in Booth #3, which is now dubbed the proposal booth. President Bill Clinton remembers Martin’s as one of his ”favorite haunts in Georgetown.” I really loved the environment of Martin’s and they had delicious food as well as great service. I can definitely tell how this place came to be so popular. It is also my most liked video on TikTok with 73 likes (as of 11:29 am on 4/26/23).

Las Gemelas Taqueria is located within five minutes of where I live and I had eaten there twice before, so I was excited to learn President Biden ate at the restaurant. On Cinco de Mayo in 2021, Biden visited the restaurant. Las Gemelas was the first restaurant in the nation that Biden approved for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. I work at OrangeTheory Fitness to support me in school and when the members asked me about my TikTok project and I mentioned Las Gemelas, one lady told me she was there when Biden was! She told me Secret Service secured the restaurant and the street outside and everyone was perplexed by what was going on. But then they all quickly understood, and she informed me that Biden was very nice to everyone in the restaurant. In full transparency, I found myself least impressed with the food at Las Gemelas, but it was still decent.

I wanted to create this TikTok account to engage with younger audiences about their local and/or national history. I spent time carefully selecting my username, and I finally landed on @presidentsbesnackin because I figured it would resonate with younger audiences and others who are familiar with Gen Z lingo. I have not received an insane amount of traffic on my profile, but I’ve received more than I was expecting. So far, I have a total of eight followers and 143 likes. My Old Ebbitt Grill video received the most views and the Martin’s Tavern video had the most likes.  I believe if I keep up with posting, I could potentially gain a good following, but it would take a lot of work to constantly put content out there. I love the idea of being a historical TikTok influencer, but I found myself feeling self-conscious filming in public, and I don’t know if that feeling would ever disappear. Overall, I’m pleased with how the videos turned out and I liked learning how my peers thought they were spliced together adequately enough! Maybe I can create more content when I have more time in the summer. I loved this project because it forced me to explore DC and good restaurants around town, and I learned a lot more about these places than I would have if I’d visited without the intention of this project.

#presidentsbesnackin TikTok Draft Check In

For my digital project I visited two different restaurants in Washington, DC where presidents have eaten at. I visited one of DC’s staple and oldest saloons, Old Ebbitt Grill, and one of my favorite burger joints, Good Stuff Eatery. My remaining two places to visit are Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown and Taqueria Las Gemelas in Noma.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed this project. While I had already been to both locations before this semester, this project has forced me to think about these spaces in a different light. I’ve found myself much more in awe of the history these places hold, rather than focusing simply on the great food. When it came to stitching together my video footage on TikTok, it took me awhile to get used to the editing process. I also found myself constantly rerecording my audio over the stitched videos. It’s tricky to say everything I need to say for such short videos. I also had to remove certain parts of my script that could be considered unnecessary/uninteresting to the average viewer. I’ve uploaded two videos so far to TikTok, on my page @presidentsbesnackin.

Unfortunately, despite utilizing hashtags, following history accounts, and commenting on and liking other videos, I’ve only received minimal traffic. On my Old Ebbitt Video, I have 26 likes, two saves, and three shares, from 710 people viewing it. On my Good Stuff Eatery video, I have 21 likes from 223 people viewing it. Hopefully the next two videos will receive more attention!


The Searchable Museum

The National Museum of African American History & Culture created an online exhibit as a “place to explore history and culture through an African American lens”. The site is split in four sections:


The constellations section offers multiple artifacts or stories that reveal themes related to the African American experience across time and genre.

If you click on a constellation, such as James Baldwin’s 1965 password, a web of resources pops up alongside it, showing the wider understanding of the object.
I clicked on the top right icon from the first screenshot and you can see it prompts you with a link to further explore the exhibition where the image is from. Not all the related content surrounding James Baldwin’s 1965 Passport had links to external sites, some simply offered a paragraph of more information.


Currently, there are four exhibitions posted on the Searchable Museum. Slavery and Freedom explores the history of slavery in America, with focus on the stories of the enslaved. This exhibit offers a more nuanced approach of who helped shape the nation of the United States. Making a Way Out of No Way is an inspiring exhibit devoted to African Americans who strengthened their communities through networks that cultivated economic and social successes. This exhibit shows how these individuals paved a path for broader social change. Spirit in the Dark examines Black music, activism, and popular culture through the diverse aspects of the Black religious experience. Millie Christine focuses on the lives of enslaved conjoined twins, Millie Christine McCoy. The twins were born a decade before the Civil War and their exhibit explores the themes of family, profit, freedom, and slavery in the 19th century.

All of the exhibitions are created differently on The Searchable Museum. Slavery and Freedom begins with a short video clip to welcome the viewer to the content. The exhibition then has four parts, with each part containing multiple chapters that detail the information further.

The opening video for Slavery and Freedom.
Here are some of the chapters for the first section of the exhibition.
Here is a closer look at the chapters. You can see they continue branching off sections to fully examine the history of the topic.

Making a Way Out of No Way also begins with a short video clip, and then is separated into themes.

Here you can see some of the themes that Making a Way Out of No Way shows. Spirit in the Dark and Millie Christine similarly presents their exhibitions by exploring themes.


The stories portion of The Searchable Museum focuses on “Lesser Known Stories” and stories from the “Present to Past.”

“Lesser Known Stories” presents the page in the screenshot above. On your desktop, you can scroll down and see dozens of boxes that detail different stories.
After clicking on one of the boxes from the “Lesser Known Stories” main page, a new page will pop up that offers more in depth research on these often forgotten stories. This screenshot is from Bridget “Biddy” Mason’s page.

The “Present to Past” page focuses on different areas and show different aspects of systemic racism and how it has developed over time.

Learn More

“Learn More” includes two sections on “How We Know What We Know” and “Resources.” “How We Know What We Know” focuses on the methods, tools, and sources that are used to study African American history and culture. “Resources” allows for viewers to dive further into the history and culture of African Americans. The resources reveals where The Searchable Museum found all the information for their exhibitions and provides access to those sources and additional sources for those interested in investigating more.

Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond

The Library of Congress published this collection on their website for viewers around the globe to access. The collection, “Finding Our Place in the Cosmos” examines the “changing models of the universe through time, ideas of life on other words, and Carl Sagan’s place in the tradition of science.” *the quote I’m pulling from the site used “ideas of life on other words,” is it supposed to say worlds?* The collection includes manuscripts, celestial atlases, newspaper articles, sheet music, and rare books. The Library of Congress organized this online collection into three sections:

The Cosmos: It’s Structure and Historical Models

The main objective of this section is to acknowledge the shifts of human understanding of the universe throughout time.

After clicking on “The Cosmos: It’s Structure and Historical Models” you will find yourself on this page. On the right you can see drawings on models of the cosmos. On the left, you can see the subtopics for this section. Toggling through all of the subtopics will present new evidence of how humans have understood the cosmos overtime. On the top of the screenshot, just above “Modeling the Cosmos” you will see three subsections titled, “About this Collection,” “Collection Items,” and “Articles and Essays.” The first two are overarching views of the whole collection, but “Articles and Essays” are where the Library of Congress creates the distinction between the three main sections of the collection (“The Cosmos,” “Life on Other Worlds,” and “Carl Sagan.”)

Life on Other Worlds: History of the Possibility

This section focuses on science fiction and popular culture, revealing the importance of the connection between imagination and scientific findings and how human ideas about life in the universe have developed over time.

The screenshot above resembles the previous screenshot, however there are some differences. In this screenshot, on the left, you can now denote the three main topics underneath “Articles and Essays.” You can also see “Teaching Resources” on the left hand column that students, teachers, or any regular Joe can investigate.

Carl Sagan and the Tradition of Science

The items in this collection come primarily from The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive to show how Sagan fits into the tradition of science and served as a mentor and role model to other scientists and the public.  

It is important to note that the items displayed for the Carl Sagan section are only a portion of the The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive‘s contents. To view the whole collection, one can use the  finding aid for the collection is located online here.

RHIZOME: The Theresa Duncan CD-ROMs

In the 1990s, Theresa Duncan and collaborators created three videogames to demonstrate interactive storytelling via the digital sphere. RHIZOME is an online exhibition that brings these three videogames brings them back to life. The three games include Chop Suey (1995), Smarty (1996), and Zero Zero (1997). Each game has a linear intro, with Smarty and Zero Zero featuring outros too. The games follow a series of vignettes, interactions, and mini-games. While the games are geared toward young girls with its mysterious and glamorous depiction, the stories also teach stories about the complexities of life.

Chop Suey (1995)

Theresa Duncan and Monica Lynn Gesue met through work at the World Bank in Washington DC. The duo then transitioned to careers at Magnet Interactive in Georgetown. At Magnet, Duncan and Gesue were introduced to CD-ROMs, inspiring them to create a moving storybook for children. This first game would be dubbed “Chop Suey.” Chop Suey is geared towards the imagination of girls aged 7 to 12.

Chop Suey’s title page.
Chop Suey‘s main page/town.

Smarty (1996)

Unfortunately, Duncan and Gesue’s partnership faltered and the duo never created another game. Duncan teamed up with artist Jeremy Blake to create Smarty (1996) and Zero Zero (1997).  Like Chop Suey, Smarty also takes place in a small Midwestern town, utilizing diners, beauty salons, and hardware stores for its story. The music played in Waffle House inspired the music in Smarty.

Smarty‘s title page.
Smarty‘s main page/town. It’s noticeably a lot more spread out than Chop Suey.
Smarty’s credit page or outro.

Zero Zero (1997)

Branching off from the previous games, Zero Zero takes place in Paris, welcoming players to a world of bakeries, catacombs, and museums.

Zero Zero‘s title page invites players to a darker, more mysterious, game than the previous two.
Zero Zero’s main page/town. The main character in Zero Zero is the girl, climbing out of the chimney in the foreground of the image. Her name is Pinkee and the game follows her around Paris at night.
Zero Zero‘s outro/credits.