VIDEO: Ben's Chili Bowl Celebrates 55 Years Of Half-Smokes And History | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

VIDEO: Ben's Chili Bowl Celebrates 55 Years Of Half-Smokes And History

Play associated audio
It's been more than half a century since Ben's Chili Bowl opened its doors along U Street NW.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpellgen/8676889382/
It's been more than half a century since Ben's Chili Bowl opened its doors along U Street NW.

Ben's Chili Bowl, a culinary and cultural institution on U Street NW, today celebrated 55 years in business. Mayor Vince Gray appeared alongside comedian Bill Cosby and Rev. Jessie Jackson to commemorate more than a half-century of half-smokes at the storied restaurant.

Rock stars, movie stars, presidents, and many a regular Washingtonian have stopped by the restaurant in its 55 years in business, and it has served as a backdrop for many movies. Still, the restaurant is a family affair, and matriarch Virginia Ali is thankful for the many years—and many patrons—that have gone by.

"This is a very meaningful day. This is 55 years serving the Washington community, and I love it. The community has been very supportive of us all these years, and we're just happy to be here and grateful for all our patrons," she said. "It's a wonderful community, and it has been since Day 1. It's even better now. The community has been there for us, so it's a win-win situation."

That grill at Ben's has never cooled, even during the District's darkest time, including the riots.

"Ben's stayed open during the entire period of time. They were not bombed, they were not fireballed, they were not nothing, because this community loves Ben's," said D.C. Council member Marion Barry.

At 10 a.m., Mayor Gray made an appearance to help celebrate the anniversary and to present Ali, her family and the restaurant's employees with a official proclamation. He was joined by Cosby, a long-time supporter and one of only two people who eat at the restaurant free of charge. The other is President Obama, who ate at the restaurant shortly after being elected in 2008.

"Some of you take your medication before you come in here," says Cosby.

NPR

Why Does It Take A Movie Robot To Show What Nurses Really Do?

If TV and movie nurses took care of us when we're sick, we'd be in a heap of trouble. Those images of nutty, slutty and clueless nurses are bad news for the profession, and for patients.
NPR

For Norwegian-Americans, Christmas Cheer Is Wrapped Up In Lefse

For many Norwegian-American families, the most anticipated Christmas treat isn't chocolate or sugar-dusted cookies. It's a simple potato-based pancake, spread with butter and sugar or jam.
NPR

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

The secretive regime denies any involvement with the Sony Pictures hack and says the U.S. must allow it to help find the real culprit. Or else.
NPR

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they'll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony's withdrawal of The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.