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Obama Visits Ben’s Chili Bowl

by Prince Of Petworth January 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm 17 Comments

Ben’s Chili Bowl, U St NW, originally uploaded by dbking.

Thanks to all who sent me notes about this historic visit. Sadly, I was in the area about half an hour earlier and had no idea what was about to happen. The Huffington Post reports:

“Barack Obama dropped in Saturday afternoon for a bite to eat with Washington’s mayor, Adrian Fenty, at Ben’s Chili Bowl, the venerable diner in Washington’s U Street district.

Obama said it was his first time visiting Ben’s Chili Bowl and “it was terrific.” The expectation is that Obama _ already at ease in big cities from his time in Chicago _ will venture into town more than President George W. Bush, who rarely made forays into unofficial Washington.”

Was anyone there Sat. afternoon? For other genuine tastes of DC where would recommend Obama visit for a bite to eat? I’d recommend the Hitching Post or the Florida Grill.

  • Neener

    everyone in the neighborhood feels bad for missing that.

  • GforGood

    And Obama feels bad on the toilet seat having eaten the (in my view mediocre) chili dog…

  • Anonymous

    the last thing we need in these dire times is a president with the hershey squirts.

  • Rachel

    He needs to drop in the Derby some Sunday night.

  • Kay

    Do they hang the “open” sign upside on purpose or am I missing something? Sorry not upside down, but reversed…

  • lol, I was going to mention the upside down open sign also…

  • I went to Ben’s a few hours after it happened. If only I had gotten hungry EARLIER for lunch, I would have had an Obama spotting. Although, I have already met him, back in 2005, so i feel lucky for that.

  • I was there a couple of hours after…same as when he showed up to the gym. Actually, I was standing at Starbuck’s staring through the window at Ben’s, deciding whether I would go against my New Year’s Resolution or not (I didn’t).

  • PetworthRes

    PoP, can we start a Bring the President to Petworth campaign? In his early days in Washington just after his inauguration, President Clinton took a walk on Georgia Ave to show his support for the people of Washington, DC. A neighbor who lived in the neighborhood then said the walk took place up north, maybe near Farragut (does anyone know exactly where??). It’s time for a repeat!

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Sure! Does anyone have any contacts we use?

  • PetworthRes

    …and if anyone can find a news clipping on President Clinton’s walk on Georgia Ave I would love to see it. I really think this must have been January 1993. I’ve had no luck w/ the archive search, but hopefully others are better searchers than me!

  • saf

    November 19, 1992 – there’s an article in the Post archives, I’ve put enough below that you should be able to pull it from there.

    On Georgia Avenue, Cheers, Hugs and Carryout
    [FINAL Edition]
    The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) – Washington, D.C.
    Author: Michele L. Norris; Ruben Castaneda
    Date: Nov 19, 1992
    Start Page: a.01
    Section: A SECTION
    Text Word Count: 1255

    For all the planning, the neighborhood primping and the metal detectors, President-elect [Clinton] strolled Georgia Avenue yesterday like a regular guy, handing out high-fives, sampling Chinese food and greeting a fellow Georgetown University alumnus with a hearty “Yo, my man!”

    “He said he used to work in a family store like this and knows what it’s like for small businesses,” [Tesfaye Kumbi] said. When he asked whether Clinton would be making any purchases, Kumbi said, the president-elect “checked his pockets and said, `Not today.’ ”

    PHOTO,,Rich Lipski;PHOTO,,Carol Guzy CAPTION:President-elect Clinton shakes hands and visits with Washington residents lined up along Georgia Avenue. CAPTION:[Charles Edward Jones Jr.] and son [Charles III] in crowd awaiting Clinton. CAPTION:Clinton stops to talk outside Bernie’s Hair Salon, where the beauticians discussed statehood and health insurance with him.

  • mark r

    on NBC nightly news on sunday night, white house correspondent john yang referred to ben’s chili bowl as being located in an “inner city neighborhood.” is 13th & u inner city? what exactly makes a neighborhood inner city?

  • For me..anything this side of South East is the Inner City, lol

    SE is like Escape from NY…


  • Darkside

    I’m confused. I thought that Muslims aren’t supposed to eat pork.

  • Andrew

    They have had a sign up for at least a couple months saying:

    People who eat free at Ben’s:
    Bill Cosby
    The Obama Family

    I wasn’t sure if any of the Obamas had been there yet; I guess not till the other day.


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