Tag Archives: Ben’s Chili Bowl

A legendary restaurant on Washington, D.C.’s U Street known for its chili half-smokes. It also has stands at Nationals Park and FedEx Field and open. A Rosslyn location opened in 2014, more are slated for H Street NE and National Airport.

Ben’s Chili Bowl opening location at National Airport in 2014

Half-smoke
Ben’s Chili Bowl to land at Reagan NationalThe Post
Ben’s Chili Bowl continues to expand with a location at Washington National Airport scheduled to open in 2014.

The addition of Ben’s is part of an aggressive push by airport officials to revamp concession offerings at both Reagan National and Washington Dulles International airports. Along with passenger and airline fees, concessions are a major source of income for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees operations at both airports.

Earlier this month, Ben’s announced it was opening a Rosslyn location in 2014 as well. H Street NE is expected to get a location too, along with Nationals Park and FedEx Field.

Now, there may be some criticism of the expansion — I saw some in Facebook comments, but why should the Ali family limit themselves? Their contributions to the District and U Street in particular are wonderful and no less so if they have additional locations. I’m also on board with more places to get a half-smoke.

According to WTOP, National Airport will be getting several other eateries – American Tap Room, Legal Sea Foods and Pinkberry.

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Ben’s Chili Bowl to open Rosslyn location in 2014

Half-smoke
Ben’s Chili Bowl expanding to VirginiaWashington Business Journal
Iconic Washington D.C. half-smoke purveyors Ben’s Chili Bowl is paying to open a location in Rossyln, Arlington County:

Ben’s co-owner Nizam Ben Ali confirms that the restaurant’s ownership has signed a lease for 1725 Wilson Blvd., which is in the shopping center that used to house Ray’s and is still home to Pho 75, Guajillo and Bean Good coffee, among others.

Opening is expected in 2014. There is a location on H Street NE also in the works, but the Rosslyn location is expected to open sooner.

Ben’s Chili Bowl also has stands at Nationals Park and FedEx Field, but not Verzion Center, though that’s only two Green Line stops from original U Street location.

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Ben’s Chili Bowl to FedEx Field, already at Nationals Park. Your move, Ted Leonsis…

Word came out today that venerable Washington D.C. landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl will have stands at FedEx Field (@dcsportsbog), the Landover, Md. home of the Washington Redskins, this season. Ben’s has been selling half-smokes at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, since it opened in 2008. That means that 2 of the 3 biggest stadia in the D.C. area will have Ben’s. The big outlier — Verizon Center, home of the Washington Capitals and Washing Wizards does not, though it is only a few stops down the Green Line from the actual Ben’s.

In my list of deliverables for Ted Leonsis, one of the things I suggested was:

4. Improved food stands in Verizon Center

The one thing that Nationals Park has over every other sports venue in D.C. is the selection of food vendors, especially ones with a local connection. Yes, Ben’s Chili Bowl needs to be in Verizon Center…

Your move, Ted.

UPDATE: More details from DC Sports Bog (The Post): Ben’s Chili Bowl coming to FedEx Field. Apparently, the Redskins reached out to Ben’s when they heard that it was expanding. Another District location and one in Northern Virginia are being developed. Interesting — does Ben’s lose cache by having standalone stores other than U Street? You know, what, I don’t think I care, because a closer proximity to Ben’s half-smokes is pretty good news. I wouldn’t mind seeing stands at RFK Stadium for DC United games too.

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DC United wins with Ben Olsen’s Chili Bowl

I have already mentioned how impressed I am with DC United’s marketing push and how it really put them on my radar. Well, they did it one better yesterday, when they teamed up with Ben’s Chili Bowl. Yesterday, the landmark U Street restaurant was Ben Olsen’s Chili Bowl for the day.

At Saturday’s opener, Ben Olsen’s Chili Bowl t-shirts (DC Sports Bog, The Post) are being given away, so now I really wish I was going to that game (went to Sunday’s Capitals game instead after we magically found tickets) but I will make it out to RFK Stadium at least once this season to see DC United.

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More on Ben Ali, founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl


He Added Spice to Our LivesThe Post
Death of a Washington legendThe Wash. Times
Ben Ali’s Son: “We’re All OK.”CityPaper
Ben Ali, founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl, dies AP/WTOP
Ben Ali obituaries from the two D.C. broadsheets, plus the alternate tabloid and AP. The great irony of his life — he never had a half-smoke because his Muslim faith prohibits pork.

Despite Founder’s Death, It Was Business As Usual at Ben’sCityPaper
Life Goes On in Rhythm of Ben’sThe Post
It was just a little busier at Ben’s Chili Bowl yesterday — Sounds like a good tribute to me.

For much of yesterday, “Ben’s Chili Bowl” and later “Ben Ali” were trending on Twitter.

The Death of Ben Ali: What Others Had to SayCityPaper
What others are saying about Ali. What are you saying?

PREVIOUSLY
Ben Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl dead at 82 – 10.08.2009
Fifty years of Ben’s Chili Bowl – 04.21.2008

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Ben Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl dead at 82

Ben Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl Dies – Port Mortem, The Post
Ben Ali, the 82 year old founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl, the most prominent half-smoke restaurant and Washginton D.C. institution has died. Washington is a richer place for him being here.

I expect there will be a lot more coverage over the next few days. He

PREVIOUSLY
Fifty years of Ben’s Chili Bowl – 04.21.2008

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Ben’s Chili Bowl at 50 chat right now

Ben’s Chili Bowl Turns 50The Post
“D.C. culinary institution Ben’s Chili Bowl turned 50 this month. Nizam Ali, son of founders Ben and Virginia, who runs the family business with his brother Kamal, will be online Monday, Aug. 25 at 11:30 a.m. ET to take your questions about the restaurant’s past, present and future.”

PREVIOUSLY: Fifty years of Ben’s Chili Bowl

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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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