Teddy Roosevelt is fast becoming the hot new president.
The 26th commander in chief finally won a victory in the presidents’ mascot race at Nationals Park, a movie about his life is in pre-production and a new restaurant will soon honor his name.
“Teddy is a true competitor who worked hard and trained diligently last season,” said Nationals COO Andrew Feffer in a statement to The Hill.
“He’s always had a special connection with our fans — kids love him, adults follow him on Twitter (@Teddy26Nats) and they’ve always rooted for him. He has received an overwhelming outpouring of support through the years, which certainly helped fuel his drive to his historic win last season.”
Meanwhile, a movie about Roosevelt’s life is in pre-production, according to reports. It will be based on The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the first in author Edmund Morris’s trilogy of books about the life of the former president.
And then there’s Teddy & The Bully Bar, Alan Popovsky’s next presidential-themed restaurant, which is scheduled to open at the end of June.
It follows the success of his first venture: Lincoln.
“Just like Lincoln, he’s a really iconic president and embodies my values,” Popovsky said of picking Roosevelt as the theme of his new venture.
“He just strikes a very powerful pose. He was a very cross-the-lines-type the president.”
Popovsky opened Lincoln restaurant in April 2011, right before the 16th president took off in popularity.
Steven Spielberg’s film then reawakened public interest in Lincoln, and actor Daniel Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for his presidential performance.
Popovsky decided to go with Roosevelt about a year after Lincoln opened.
“It is another serendipitous thing we picked this president. You can pick anybody. You can pick [Bill] Clinton. George Washington is easy,” he said, noting that the less well known of the two Roosevelt presidents appealed to him.
“I think that Teddy did so many innovative things and wasn’t surrounded by a world war, but he really edged the country toward prosperity.”
After Popovsky signed the lease for the restaurant’s location, at 19th and M streets NW, he made a serendipitous discovery: Roosevelt lived across the street when he was assistant secretary of the Navy.
“When we got in here, someone pointed it out to us, and we were pretty amazed,” Popovsky said. “It was a total, karmatic sign.”
The restaurant is in its finishing stages: executive chef Michael Hartzer is finalizing the menu while designer Maggie O’Neill works out the last details of the décor.
O’Neill, who also designed the space for Lincoln, noted: “I feel like there was more material with Teddy than with Lincoln — visually.”
“The palate was really obvious. He used a specific color in most of his homes, which was a pale bluish gray color. So you’ll see that as a thread running throughout.”
The restaurant will also pay homage to Roosevelt’s love of the outdoors and the famous taxidermy seen throughout his Sagamore Hill home — with a twist.
The animals will be made out of modern materials: There will be an elk head made of car parts, a moose constructed of lace and rope, and a bull made out of denim.
One wall features a tribute to Mount Rushmore, with mini-plaster replicas of the famous monument stacked on top of one another. Greeting customers when they walk into the bar will be a chandler hung with monocles — Roosevelt’s signature eyepiece.
O’Neill used small, creative businesses — about 30 of them — in the décor.
“Robust, refined, and relaxed was sort of the tag line we initially started talking about,” she said of the restaurant’s atmosphere.
Chef Hartzer said the menu “has several different influences.”
He’ll do a modern twist on fried chicken, one of Roosevelt’s favorite meals.
And another favorite food item of the former president’s will be featured prominently.
“He said a biscuit should be served with every meal, so obviously we’re going to be working on some interesting flavors and really, really well-done biscuits,” Hartzer said.
And, it may surprise some people that Roosevelt — a big game hunter and a meat eater — loved his vegetables.
“You think of him as this big meat guy,” Hartzer said, “but in terms of talking about what he liked to eat, he was really into vegetables. He liked lots of foraged things that were coming from the local land.”
Teddy & The Bully Bar will seat about 235 people between its main dining room; two smaller, private rooms; and large bar area. There is also an outdoor patio. The dining room will have a bakery for the biscuits and there will be a raw bar, which pays homage to the New England roots of the Roosevelt family.
And this won’t be Popovsky’s last presidential restaurant. He has his next one in mind but only offered a small hint.
“We’re going to move deep into the 20th century with our next president,” he said, adding: “We’re also going to weave the first lady in because I think we’re destined to have a female president.”