Scholars hoping to study the history of the half-smoke will soon have some help. The owners of Ben's Chili Bowl are presenting the university with artifacts from more than 50 years on U Street.
Co-owner Nizam Ali says it's an honor to contribute to the university's archives.
"It's very special," he says. "It's very humbling. And it's very sentimental to know these records will outlast us."
As he waits for his half-smoke, D.C. firefighter Mike Puglisi says it's high time the Ivory Tower got a taste of the Chili Bowl.
"It's an institution," he says. "It's great. The food is awesome. The service is always good. The people are always friendly. And (they have) best half-smokes around."
The papers –- including everything from photographs to pay stubs -– will be preserved in the university's Africana Research Center.