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Half-Smokes Are For Lovers: D.C.'s Ben's Chili Bowl Crosses The Potomac

Ben's Chili Bowl has operated on U Street for 55 years, and now crosses over into Virginia.
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Ben's Chili Bowl has operated on U Street for 55 years, and now crosses over into Virginia.

A District of Columbia landmark is expanding across the Potomac.

Ben's Chili Bowl opened its first location in Virginia on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Arlington.

Bill Cosby, the restaurant's most famous cheerleader, cut the ribbon and entertained a crowd of several hundred that turned out to get one of Ben's signature chili half-smokes.

Ben and Virginia Ali opened their restaurant in 1958 in U Street in the District. It stayed open through race riots in the late `60s that devastated the neighborhood and has been a keystone in that neighborhood's revitalization.

Thursday's opening marks the first new stand-alone Ben's Chili Bowl since the original opened more than 55 years ago. The Ali family says it may look to expand further if the Arlington location is a success.

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