What to watch out for at Ben’s Chili Bowl

I was in DC for a few days last month, playing tourist and freezing my butt off (it was REALLY cold). The last time I was in DC was in January 2001 and some things have changed. The area around Ben’s back then was a bit rough. Not anymore. It’s been gentrified along with much of DC. Thankfully, Ben’s hasn’t changed.

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Same as it ever was.

As befitting a place with the words “chili bowl” in the name, Ben’s makes pretty much everything with chili on it. Chili burgers, chili fries, chili hot dogs/half smokes. If they ever made a salad, I’d expect it with chili on top as a dressing. I wouldn’t eat it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a Ben’s salad did have chili.

I took a friend there for her first visit and we ordered a lot “to share”.

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Chili fries to share
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Chili Con Carne to share
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A Chili Half Smoke (one for each of us)
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The griddle at the front where all that half smoke and porky goodness comes from

What you need to watch out for is everything with chili (for sharing) disappearing when you walk over to get beverages and your companion is sitting there with a sheepish look on her face. Your chili is NOT safe!! Lesson learned: eat chili first, worry about beverages later.

Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U Street NW
Washington DC 20009

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