Our next visit takes us to one of the most popular food destinations in Washington DC. Ben's Chili Bowl, founded in 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali has been a staple to residents in the tri-state area. This retro dining stop located in the heart of the historic U. St. Corridor has been serving the same delicious meals for over 50 years. Once the hot-spot for local musicians such as Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Miles Davis this restaurant has evolved to grow a enormous fan following. The biggest contributer to the success of this establishment has to be Bill Cosby who is one of the longest standing patrons and even has a item on the menu named after him.
(Picture brought to you by So Good)
One only has to peak inside the dining hall to see the vast number of famous patrons who have once dined in this historic landmark. My recommendation is a chili cheese half smoke which is pictured below and an order of chili cheese fries to split with a friend. You can also go with the Bill Cosby special or a chili burger. They also have shakes and dessert cake which I have yet to try; but in the end you have to go for a chili cheese dog.
(Chili Cheese Half Smoke)
What separates Ben's Chili Bowl from any other local restaurant is that it's followers span the entire spectrum of social life. While waiting in line you will be standing next to business men, yuppies, and hipsters. People from all walks of life converge here to enjoy this simple yet amazing food and most come out enjoying the experience (I personally know only 2 people who did not like it).
(Chili Cheese Fries)
This food is perfect at any time of the day, whether it be a quick lunch in between work or ending a long night on the town Ben's Chili Bowl will certainly never disappoint. It's open late every day of the week and is never empty. During peak hours expect you should expect to see a line coming out of the store. The longest waits are usually on a weekday night around 2 a.m. when you can wait up to 30 minutes to get your food and you will rarely see people leave to go somewhere else; a true testament to the quality of food served here.
The prices are fair, the only drawback is that the store accepts cash only and you will probably have to wait in line. But all of this is trumped by the experience you will have dining here. My recommendation is to go during an off-peak hour so that you have a chance to sit and enjoy your meal. Afterword you should take a chance to look at the photos of the famous people who have dined at this restaurant.