It’s a solemn Thursday in DC for thousands of hot dog-lovin’ Washingtonians. Ben Ali, the founder of Washington’s world-famous Ben’s Chili Bowl Restaurant, has died. He was 82.
Ben’s Chili Bowl — home of the best half-smoke in Washington, if I do say so myself — has been a haunt for Hollywood celebs and noted politicans for decades. Comedian Bill Cosby has been a favorite guest at the restaurant, and even President Barack Obama stopped by in January.
The restaurant was founded in 1958 on U Street, then known as “Black Broadway” for drawing groundbreaking performers like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole.