Ben’s Chili Bowl
Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday are among the many African American luminaries who performed at this 1922 ballroom....
Ben’s Next Door
Ben’s Next Door is, yes, next door to Ben’s Chili Bowl. It offers upscale Southern fare (she crab soup, fried chicken, ribs), along with...
1213 U St · interesting places nearby
Ben’s Chili Bowl information
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.