Historically Good Chili

The District has real roots.

D.C.’s U Street Corridor, located between 9th and 18th streets, is being gushed about left and right the cool “it” spot. Tell that to Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Lena Horne, who played this area back in their days. The neighborhood known as Shaw may be opening bistros and bars aplenty, but we’re gonna roll back the clock to an oldie-but-goodie from 1958: when Ben’s Chili Bowl first swung open its doors. It spooned up piquant chili on half smokes, a local sausage delicacy. Thank you, Ben’s, for the spice, for the smoke, and for the gooey cheese on top.

The counter, stools, and booths are 1950s originals from when the building was a silent movie house. A more recent addition is a mural depicting diners Bill Cosby, Barack Obama, radio personality Donnie Simpson, and funk musician Chuck Brown. Local artist Aniekan Udofia completed the piece in 2012.

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