Ben's Chili Bowl

I hate to admit it but we’ve been living just outside of Washington, DC for the past 3 1/2 years and it was only just today that we finally made it to Ben’s Chili Bowl – the iconic diner.

Ben’s Chili Bowl: A Classic

It’s not often that I write a review of a foodie destination, but as I mentioned, Ben’s Chili Bowl is a DC icon and a tourist mecca for those looking for the best chili in the city.  It’s also a place where one can have a bowl of chili and take in the classic diner experience where pictures of famous personalities adorn the walls.

Ben's Chili Bowl

A classic diner experience.

Most everyone who visits the city knows about the Smithsonian Museums and the presidential monuments, and a few infamous eateries such as Old Ebbitt Grill. But the city has so very much more to experience, I think it’s high time I start sharing some of the highlights. Because, you never know when you might find yourself in Washington, DC wanting to eat a good great chili dog, or chili cheese fries, or just a bowl of chili topped with onions and cheese and a few packs of classic saltine crackers on the side.

Ben's Chili Bowl

Chili topped with cheese and onions with classic saltine crackers on the side.

Hot Dogs on the Grill

Having been gifted with two theater tickets for a live performance, at an intimate theater on the U Street Corridor, we decided a bit of a daycation was the order of the day.  And, we decided that it was about time we visited Ben’s Chili Bowl.  As it happened the original location was just around the corner from the theater.

We bellied up to the bar so-to-speak and got up close and personal with the menu while drooling at the burgers and dogs sizzling on the grill.

Ben's Chili Bowl

Chili Cheese Fries. Yum!

Best Chili for 59 Years

Founded in 1958 by Ben and his bride, Virginia, award winning Ben’s Chili Bowl has been serving up the best chili for 59 years.  That is a lot of chili!  If there’s an accolade to be had, Ben’s has earned it while serving Presidents, politicians, celebrities, and locals alike.

“I am the kind of person who really will drive hours for a bowl of chili. I’m not a three-star restaurant kind of a person; I’m just a food person.”  Nora Ephron

Since it was our first visit, we decided to try three different items and share them.  A bit of a sample menu if you will.  “Let’s see,” we said to the server, “please bring us a bowl of chili and an order of chili cheese fries.”  Several bites later we were hooked and decided to order an all-beef hot dog split, grilled and topped with chili, mustard, and onions. Holy Moly it was good!  Before I even finished my fries, I was figuring out what I wanted to order the next time we go.

Ben's Chili Bowl

All beef hot dog split and grilled topped with mustard, chili and onions.

It may have taken us 3 1/2 years to get there, but believe me it won’t take us that long to return.  I’d seriously go back tomorrow.  So, what do you think?  Will you head for Ben’s Chili Bowl when you visit Washington, DC?

If You Go

Ben’s Chili Bowl – The Original

1213 U Street NW

Washington, DC 20009

Facebook:  @benschili

  • vegetarian options are available
  • gluten free options available


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