Ben’s Chili Bowl

restaurants / American

Ben’s Chili Bowl information

Washington, DC , USA
1213 U St
Getting there
Metro: U St
More information
mains $5-10
Opening hours
6am-2am Mon-Thu, 6am-4am Fri, 7am-4am Sat, 11am-midnight Sun
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Ben’s is a DC institution. The main stock in trade is half-smokes, DC’s meatier, smokier version of the hot dog, usually slathered in mustard, onions and the namesake chili. For nearly 60 years presidents, rock stars and Supreme Court justices have come in to indulge in the humble diner, but despite the hype, Ben's remains a true neighborhood establishment. Cash only.

To place your order, join the locals clustered at the counter and gabbing over sweet ice tea. Ben and Virginia Ali opened the Chili Bowl in 1958. It’s one of the only businesses on U St to have survived the 1968 riots and the disruption that accompanied construction of the U St Metro stop. Ben died in 2009. His sons now run the business, which includes outlets on H St NE and at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.