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  • Writer's pictureChopped Onion

Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, D.C. (U Street/Shaw Neighborhood)

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

1213 U St NW (between N 12th St & N 13th St) Washington, DC 20009 (202) 667-0909

Within walking distance of Howard University, Ben's Chili Bowl (Shaw neighborhood) is a student favorite. But, before it became a hip spot for today's students it was a hang around for: Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Redd Foxx, Cab Calloway & Miles Davis. Ben & Virginia Ali established the Chili Bowl in 1958. Bill Cosby (a Ben's regular since 1958) made the Bowl famous and today it's more popular than ever. The Bowl is still a favorite with today's celebrities such as Bono, Usher, Chris Tucker, Denzel Washington, Chuck Brown, Dr. Dre, Wale, Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins), Adrian Fenty (D.C. Mayor), Nicolas Sarkozy (former President of France), Obama, Sean Combs, et al. Like the thousands before me, I came to Ben's Chili Bowl to try their signature chili half-smoke (quarter lb. ½ pork & ½ beef smoked sausage). I also had a regular chilidog and fries. The buns are steamed, the dog and the ½ smoke are both grilled and they are both topped with mustard, onions and Ben's original spicy home-made chili. Although I preferred the regular chilidog to the ½ smoke they were both very good, as were the fries. Order @ the register and they will bring your food to your table and they will also bus your table for you. Enjoy this great D.C. landmark!

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