Fifty years of Ben’s Chili Bowl

Half-smoke
Ben’s Celebrates Chili PowerThe Post
This week is the 50th anniversary of Ben’s Chili Bowl*, the venerable U Street institution. Bill Cosby loves it more than Jello pudding:

By far, Ben’s biggest celebrity fan is Cosby, who will serve as master of ceremonies for tonight’s Lincoln Theatre event. The comic helped propel Ben’s to the national spotlight in 1985 when he held a news conference there to talk about his No. 1 television program, “The Cosby Show.”

Cosby became a fan when he was in the Navy and stationed in Bethesda in 1958. During that time, he was a regular at jazz clubs on U Street. And he also took his soon-to-be wife, Camille, who was a student at the University of Maryland, to Ben’s on late-night dates, where he would eat as many as six half-smokes at a time. Cosby likens a Ben’s half-smoke, a plump beef and pork sausage, to a fine wine.

“You can describe it the same way a wine connoisseur would be able to tell difference between a pinot noir and a merlot,” Cosby said in a telephone interview. “When you bite into a half-smoke, the skin and the way the texture and firmness and the toppings you can get on it . . . “

His voice trailed off, as if he was caught in the memory of the taste.

Six?! The man had a stomach of steel. By the way, that is not recommended date behavior.

More: 50 Years of Friends and ChiliThe Post

Oh and it looks like I will be taking Cliff there real soon — his Phillies beat the Nats for the eighth time in eleven games. The Phillies need two more victories over the Nats to clinch a Ben’s half-smoke for Cliff. The Nats need to win every remaining game against Philadelphia to win me a cheesesteak. Given that the Nats haven’t won in 13 games overall, I am not feeling too good about this one.

*The bandwidth limit was exceeded earlier this morning.

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