There are things that are meant not to change. And Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington DC is one of them.
Opened on August 22, 1959, Ben’s Chili Bowl played its part well as part of history in the African American community. It was the hangout of “Black Broadway” greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole, the refuge of activists, firefighters and public servants post the riots ensued by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the date place where comedy legend Bill Cosby courted his wife Camille and the lunch hole of President Barack Obama 10 days before his presidential inauguation.
So despite the difficulty of parking (clearly an indication that apeople still do flock to Ben’s Chili Bowl after almost 55 years), it was a must-eat place in Washington DC.
Pack some cash (It is a cash only place), fall in line (it is a long line), patiently wait for your turn (its not fast food per se) and pay (Your not Bill Cosby or Barack Obama to get a free pass here) to get a taste of Ben’s famous signature creation, the chili half-smoke with a side of their fries.
The use of a half-smoke, a half-beef and half-pork sausage, along with the creamy (but no dairy!) and spicy chili makes their sandwich one of a kind. I love that their half-smokes have the char on its skin and the sharp snap of the casing when you bite into it. One of the tastiest sausages I’ve ever had here in this country.
Grab a pile of tissues while you are at it because Ben’s chili half-smokes can get all over your face and fingers. Yum.
Hope it never changes because I’d definitely be back for more when in Washington DC.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Open Monday to Thursday, 6AM to 2AM
Friday to Saturday, 6AM to 4AM
Sunday, 11AM to 12MN
Main Menu only available from 1045AM onwards
+1 (202) 667-0909