Ben's Chili Bowl,
May 11, 2002 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Ben's Chili Bowl, a Washington, DC institution if ever there was one, has put up a site. This eatery was opened in the 50's, when U St. NW in DC was the 'Black Broadway', survived the riots (and the ensuing economic disintegration) and is going strong today, still run by the family that opened it. Next time you're in DC, go in and order a few half-smokes just like Bill Cosby does - he and his wife had their first date there - and say hello to Mrs. Ali. If you already live in DC, rejoice in the new online ordering interface and have your chili cheeseburger waiting for you when you breeze through the door.
posted by GriffX (12 comments total)
If I would ever regret becoming a vegetarian, Ben's chili half-smokes would be a good reason why.

With all the entertainment options nearby (the Lincoln Theater, dance clubs, Black Cat), the order page is an great idea.
posted by LinusMines at 4:25 PM on May 11, 2002

*wipes drool off keyboard*

God that looked delicious, GriffX. Unfortunately, I'm about 300 miles north of DC at the moment, so I'll have to settle for the food porn on the site.

If you ever come up this way, you should check out Pat's Hubba Hubba on Main Street just across the border in Port Chester, NY for similar chili-smothered greasy goodness. I didn't put in a link because they don't have a website. They don't even have paper menus. Their entire bill of fare is written on paper plates stapled to the wall. I am not kidding. This is a beautiful thing.
posted by jonmc at 4:40 PM on May 11, 2002

Whenever I'm in DC I visit Ben's. When I'm in Pittsburgh, I visit Primanti Brothers. I simply cannot get enough of those sandwiches!
posted by gummi at 4:48 PM on May 11, 2002

Weird that this is on Metafilter since I always thought that Ben's was a small place on the map, but it's worth every bit since their chili cheese fries are great.

Although it doesn't say anything in the history section about the place getting busted for fencing merchandise out of the back room in the eighties.
posted by destro at 4:50 PM on May 11, 2002

That sandwhich on the Primanti Brothers site is enormous. Thanks for the link gummi.
posted by destro at 4:53 PM on May 11, 2002

Primanti Bros. sandwich or Mount Kilimanjaro...which one is higher?
posted by LinusMines at 5:08 PM on May 11, 2002

Had a Primanti Bros. sandwich on a trip to Pittsburgh -- it was possibly the highlight of the long weekend.

Chili lovers in LA need check out "chilli my soul" ( That, too, is the stuff.
posted by herc at 5:11 PM on May 11, 2002

Primanti Bros. sandwich or Mount Kilimanjaro...which one is higher?

Ha! On more than one occasion I would hear my weaker friends complain about stomach cramps after trying to tackle the Primanti sandwich. Not I, I tell you. Not I. *urp*
posted by gummi at 5:12 PM on May 11, 2002

Not real smart of me to look at this site right before dinner. Now I'm starving. Cool link.
posted by diddlegnome at 5:58 PM on May 11, 2002

why are flights to Washington from the UK so expensive <drool> ;-)
posted by monkeyJuice at 1:22 AM on May 12, 2002

There's an very well-done Flash presentation about the history of U Street, including a section on Ben's Chili Bowl, here. It won an Online Journalism Award last year, for what that's worth.
posted by mediareport at 1:36 PM on May 12, 2002

For excellent chile, great burritos, scores of hot sauces, and all your spicy cooking needs, NYC's Kitchen Market is hard to beat.
posted by liam at 3:13 PM on May 14, 2002

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