Ben’s Chili Bowl 50th Anniversary Celebration

Thanks to numerous readers for sending the following reminder:

WASHINGTON, DC — One block of U Street, NW, between 12th and 13th Streets, will be closed on Friday, August 22nd, for the 50th anniversary celebration of Ben’s Chili Bowl.

The roadway is scheduled to be blocked off beginning at 7am and reopened to traffic at 4pm. Parking restrictions will be in effect 1200 block of U Street and the 1200 block of Florida Avenue.

Ben’s Chili Bowl, located at 1213 U Street, NW, opened on August 22, 1958.

Date: Friday, August 22, 2008

Press Conference:

Time: 10:30AM

Place: On “U” Street in front of the Bowl

Program: Tribute from city officials, words from Ben & Virginia Ali,
and many special guests!

Block Party:

Time: Immediately following the press conference until 2:00PM

Place: “U” Street between 12th and 13th Street

13 Comment

  • Do they hand out free hot dogs? They’d better be free, as they ain’t worth a lot of money (at least the chili dog was awful).. one of the most overrated places in DC.

  • Is BCB the most overrated joint in DC?

  • One. Not “the”. 🙂

  • Thor- that title belongs to Lauriol Plaza in my opinion.

  • Hot Dog with Veggie Chili is really good. Meat Chili is not so good – it looks terrible too. And the place always seems really dirty. It keeps me away. Maybe when they expand they’ll clean up.

  • I worked as a poetry instructor at the soon to be closed Garnet -Patterson Middle School (around the corner from Ben’s) for four years. Sometimes I’d stop by after school. (I took the kids in the club there at the end of the school year).
    The following haiku is one of several I wrote when sitting at the now storied counter:

    I’m into wellness-
    Sister beside me proclaimed
    Then bit her half smoke.

  • Ben’s was the first place I ever received anti-white discrimination ever. I had blissfully grown up with a diverse group of friends who all thought the bad old days were over and one of them always went bananas for his grandfather’s trips to Ben’s after church. so I’m 19 and I go there and get the food but only half of it comes out. I tell the guy that he forgot my milkshake or my chili fries or some such thing, and he just stares up at me and says, “I didn’t forget, you’re not getting anything that will keep you in this place any longer.” And my girlfriend and I got the hell out quickly. Would have been… 1990? 1991?

    I’ve never been back and I’m sure it wasn’t the owner’s doing, just the jerks behind the counter.

  • Yes, the chili dogs are overrated (Hard Times Cafe’s Cincy chili makes for a pretty good chili dog), but I think the celebration is due more the history of the place than the actual food that is served there.

    Neener…that’s a long time to hold a grudge! Although I stick to my guns on things like that so I can’t blame you too mcuh…anyway, I wasn’t around back then, but I’m pretty sure the culture of the neighborhood has changed a good bit in the last 17-18 years! I’ve been there twice in about a year and that is about one time too many times for a year.

  • ben’s is garbage.

    it is also a scourge of the black community contributing to obesity and diabetes


  • @anonneemooo

    so in that case, is Five Guys the scourge of the white community???

  • well, neener-i know how you feel . i feel the same way when i get the cold, “post-racial”vibe from
    newbies ….

  • Lol.. Reuben, good one. Although, the comment Neener received at Ben’s was anything but “post-racial”.. sounds more like a “straight in your face-racial” comment to me. 🙂

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