WASHINGTON — A D.C. staple is celebrating a major milestone. Ben's Chili Bowl has been serving hungry customers half smokes and chili for 65 years, and there's a big party planned to mark the occasion on Tuesday.
Ben’s Chili Bowl began as a dream of Ben and Virginia Ali, and with their $5,000 life savings, the young couple first opened the doors of their now iconic restaurant on Aug. 22, 1958. Since then, Ben's has served locals, celebrities, presidents and tourists from around the world. It also survived a global pandemic.
As part of the celebration Ben's has teamed up with Pepsi and Lays to give guests a free meal on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 1:30 p.m. You'll have your choice of a half smoke, beef dog, turkey dog or veggie dog with a bag of chips and a soda or bottled water. The offer is only available in-person at the original U Street location while supplies last.
"All of us at Ben’s are humbled by and thankful for the love and support we constantly receive from our guests and the city of Washington, D.C. as we continue to build upon the rich history of community service that Ben’s has been known for throughout the years," the restaurant said in a statement.
If you don't dig on long lines, remember you can get Ben's Chili Bowl half smokes at Giant stores now.
Ben’s is still run by Virginia Ali, who is 89 years old, her three sons (Sage, Kamal, and Nizam), and two of her daughters-in-law (Vida and Sonya.)
"Ben’s Chili Bowl offers D.C. residents more than just good food, it is an institution that inspires Black business owners to win big for D.C.,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We are grateful to Ben’s Chili Bowl for making D.C. proud for 65 years."