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'California Cuisine' : Fiedler Appears in Restaurant Ad

March 15, 1985|JOHN NIELSEN | Times Staff Writer

Former Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-N.Y.) drinks Diet Pepsi on television. Former Sen. Howard H. Baker (R-Tenn.) praises USA Today in newspaper and television ads.

And now the Valley's own Rep. Bobbi Fiedler (R-Chatsworth) is getting in on the act.

"Bobbi Fiedler loves Hamburger Hamlet," says an ad in the back of The Washingtonian, an upscale monthly magazine. It quotes the third-term congresswoman as saying that it's "terrific to find California's great cuisine available here in Washington."

Hamlet Owner's Request

In a rare endorsement of a private company by an elected politician, Fiedler recently did a brief stint as a figurehead for the Los Angeles-based restaurant chain.

Displayed as part of a long-running "I Love Hamburger Hamlet" campaign, the ad was made at the request of restaurant owner Marilyn Lewis, said Fiedler aide Paul Clark. Lewis, a Fiedler constituent with a home in Washington, once provided free chili at a cook-off sponsored by what Clark called an "extremely bipartisan social group," the California State Society. In return, Fiedler agreed to promote the company's three Washington-area restaurants, provided the ads ran only in The Washingtonian.

Lewis, reached at the restaurant's Beverly Hills headquarters, described the ad as "adorable," after noting that Fiedler did it free. She said she had never contributed to a Fiedler campaign and never asked for anything from any congressional committee of which Fiedler is a member.

Fiedler herself said the motives were mixed. Aside from the favor returned for the cook-off, Fiedler said she enjoyed taking a shot at "more typical" Washington food.

"As a Californian, I'm really tired of the heavy food you find in Washington," she said. "There's no good Mexican food, very little good chili . . . . Most of the time it's a drag."

After stressing that the ad was "definitely not meant as a swipe at McDonald's" or any other business with a restaurant in the Valley, Clark said it was likely that Fiedler was through with the advertising life.

"We are not planning to make it a career," he said.

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