I was so sad to learn, via DCist, that Ben Ali (of Ben’s Chili Bowl) died yesterday at the age of 82. His business was a large part of the revitalization of U Street, an icon in DC. And of course he brought love, chili, and half smokes to all. Just a year ago Ben’s celebrated its 50th anniversary. There’s not much else to say, RIP Ben.
October 8, 2009
February 18, 2009
I had noticed that Ben’s Next Door served my favorite hot sauce, by Uncle Brutha’s, which immediately earned the restaurant credibility in my book. However, when I recently ran out of my supply, I beleaguered the fact that I couldn’t find another hot sauce that stood up to it, and was having trouble locating the stuff since their store closed at Eastern Market. Then I saw PoP’s post on Uncle Brutha’s, saying they’d opened a temporary store in Adams Morgan. Great! However, I walked over there and it turns out the temporary store has closed. Sizing up my options and considering buying on the Internet, I saw that Uncle Brutha’s website had been updated to tell me that Next Door not only serves their hot sauce, they sell it as well.
I went in after work today, to stock up on my Uncle Brutha’s. I don’t think anyone else had come in to buy it, but they were helpful and courteous as they got the sauce and wrung me up. So hot sauce fiends, here’s a tip: buy your Uncle Brutha’s at Next Door.
February 11, 2009
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but Ben’s has amended its sign regarding who eats for free.
January 26, 2009
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After a year and a half of living around the corner from Ben’s Chili Bowl, I’ve only seen a line out the door and in the alley a handful of times. The first time was their 50th anniversary celebration in August of 2008, and all of the subsequent times have been in the past week. It’s insane. In a given day, I walk by Ben’s a few times getting to and from where I need to go, and nearly every time I’ve walked by since last Saturday, there’s been a line out the door. I thought it had finally gotten less busy on Friday when around 8 pm there was no line out the door, but today when I walked by around 2 pm there was a freakin’ line out the door AGAIN.
What gives? I know that Barack Obama’s visit has risen the profile of Ben’s, but surely all of the inauguration tourists have headed home by now. And it’s not like Ben’s was unbusy before President Obama visited, but you could go in at say, 5 pm on a Tuesday and have 2 people in line in front of you instead of 300. I don’t really understand where all of these people are coming from, did people who live in the area decide it’d been too long since they’d been and all head out at the same time? I don’t know.
I just hope that these long lines will dissipate and that people from the ‘hood like me can still go without waiting for 2 hours on a random afternoon. I’m glad Ben’s is doing great business (can you imagine how much money they’ve made in the last week?) but I do hope it dies down a bit so when I have a hankering for a half smoke or chili cheese fries I don’t have to wait outside in the cold for hours to get it.
January 15, 2009
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Just yesterday, Ben’s Next Door got it’s own sweet new sign. I also noticed that while it wasn’t lit up last night, it is lit up now. I dig it a lot.