Ben’s Chili Bowl

Restaurants , American U Street Corridor
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
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Ben’s Chili Bowl
© Worn Creative,

Looking like a museum piece on the yuppified, buppified stretch of U Street once known as Black Broadway, Ben’s Chili Bowl, opened in 1958, is in no danger of mouldering away, thankfully. In fact, its claim to be a 100% wind-powered business makes it very contemporary. This family-owned institution’s appeal rests on three legs: nostalgia (past customers include Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Bill Cosby and, more recently, Barack Obama), the insatiable late-night hunger of young partiers, and, of course, the great bang for the buck afforded by burgers, fries and chili. In-the-know customers order chili on a dog or half smoke (arguably Washington’s signature specialty) and cheesefries, but you can also get a turkey sub or a veggie burger. These days, in fact, you can even order Ben’s over the internet.

Venue name: Ben’s Chili Bowl
Address: 1213 U Street, NW
Between 12th & 13th Streets
Washington, DC

Opening hours: 6am–2am Mon–Thur; 6am–4am Fri, 7am–4am Sat; 11am–11pm (no breakfast) Sun
Transport: U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro
Price: Main courses $4–$9. No credit cards

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:0
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1 person listening
Amy Cavanaugh

The anchor of U Street, Ben's Chili Bowl has been dishing out cheese fries, burgers and half smokes for decades. While the street has changed massively, inside, Ben's is the same great spot.