By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
One of the District of Columbia’s most popular and iconic eateries will have the block in front of it renamed in its honor.
The D.C. Council passed emergency legislation, “The Ben’s Chili Bowl Way Designation Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2018 that was co-sponsored by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and D.C. Council member Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), July 10 at the John H. Wilson Building in Northwest. The legislation moved quickly through the process to designate the 1200 block of U Street., N.W. in Ward 1 as “Ben’s Chili Bowl Way” in recognition of its coming 60th anniversary date in August.
Ben’s was co-founded on Aug. 22, 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali. It has gained a worldwide reputation for its chili dogs and half-smokes and notable figures such as President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, every mayor of the District and countless celebrities and media personalities have stopped by to have a meal.
Ben’s has expanded its operations to H Street., N.E., Arlington, Va., and Nationals Baseball Park in addition to having a restaurant and an entertainment night spot on U and H Streets., respectively.
“I think Ben’s Chili Bowl has a wonderful history,” D.C. Council member Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4) told the AFRO. “It is wonderful for U Street and the city.”
Todd said that Virginia Ali, cofounder of the establishment who was recently honored by the AFRO at its High Tea in D.C., and some members of her family are residents of Ward 4.
“I am proud to celebrate the rich history of Ben’s and I fully support the resolution.”