Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

Best Bites Blog > Events

To Do: Ben’s Chili Bowl’s 50th Anniversary Gala

This summer, one of DC’s most beloved historic landmarks turns the big 5-0. Ben’s Chili Bowl isn’t a monument or a museum, but it might as well be. Ben and Virginia Ali opened “the Bowl” as newlyweds on August 22, 1958. At the time, its U Street location was in the middle of DC’s “Black Broadway,” and jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole were known to stop by for one of Ben’s famous chili dogs.

Ben and Virginia Ali have since retired, but the restaurant, now run by their sons Kamal and Nizam, is still a local favorite. On Thursday, August 21, Ben’s 50th Anniversary Gala will be hosted by another famous Chili Bowl regular: Bill Cosby. A sign inside the restaurant proclaims that he’s the only customer who eats for free.

From 8 to 10 PM, the free(!) gala will be held at another U Street landmark, the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., NW). The Alis want to give back to the community with live music and lots of food—including Ben’s chili dogs, of course. The following day, the true anniversary of Ben’s Chili Bowl will be celebrated with a festive block party on U Street.

Visit for more details.


Dining Out on U Street and in Shaw

Late Night Dining Guide 

Ben's Chili Bowl Has Big Plans 

More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder

Read Next

A Night Out: Good Stuff Eatery Opening Party

blog comments powered by Disqus

more from Washingtonian

Most Popular on Washingtonian

“Life Below Zero’s” Andy Bassich on Why He Moved From Washington to Rural Alaska

Here's a Map Showing Dozens of Washington's Rooftop Bars

Memorial Day 2015 Dining Guide: Crab and Oyster Feasts, Patio Parties, and Bottomless Brunches

9 Restaurants Native Washingtonians Love (Even If No Else Does)

How to Spend Memorial Day in Washington, DC

Things to Do in DC on Memorial Day Weekend

20 Great Walks Around Washington, DC

Washington Pool Bars/Restaurants for Memorial Day Weekend

This $13.5 Million McLean Castle Has a Four-Story Glass Elevator