Ben's Chili Bowl

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by pluralofcow on August 19, 2004

Ben's Chili Bowl is a must-see (must-taste?) diner in DC's rapidly gentrifying U-Street corridor. Once the epicenter of DC's African-American community, U-Street maintains part of its jazz history while catering to a new kind of neighborhood resident. Ben's is one of a few institutions that remains from U-Street's heyday, and it is certainly the tastiest.

Ben's can be reached by Metro's Green line at the U-Street/Cardozo/African-American Civil War Memorial stop, alternatively you can take the 52/3/4 bus or the 66, and exit at U street.

When you first see the place from the street you immediately get a sense of its old-time vibe. There is no wait staff. When you get inside peruse the menu posted above the counter or grab a paper version while you wait in the line. With chili-dogs for $2.95, and Bill Cosby's favority chili-half-smoke for $4.15, meals are cheap and delicious. Most things are served with a side of potato chips, and delicious-looking slices of cake are displayed in a case near the register. Vegetarians will hardly be disappointed with the hearty bowls of chili. Once you pay for your selection grab a seat in any of the restaurants booths (and look at the walls for photos of celebrities who regularly visit when in town). Your food will be delivered to you there.

As an added bonus, Ben's is open until 2 am every night, and 4 am on weekends. Carry-out is also available.

Ben's Chili Bowl
1213 U Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20009
(202) 667-0909

© LP 2000-2009