The Ben’s Chili Bowl hot dog joint along the U Street corridor is a good place to start off a Washington DC tour devoted to fast food. Both the Lincoln Theatre and the African American Civil War Memorial are a stone’s throw away from here. The graffiti and the murals along the restaurant’s wall feature two of its two well-known patrons. They were former American President Barack Obama, and standup comic Bill Cosby.
The Ben’s Chili Bowl has been serving hot dogs/chilli dogs, milkshakes, and half-smoke sausage delicacy since its founding in Washington DC in 1958. It’s a landmark restaurant that survived the riots of 1968 in the city capital following civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s assassination.
It’s also one among the handful of places in DC where you will come across all kinds of people, from hipsters clad in trousers to businessmen wearing formals. If you happen to see a stretch of limousines along the hot dog joints in the U Street NW, it is likely some politician or celebrity may have entered there for a hot dog or two.
If you want to satiate hunger, try the grill-cooked chilli half-smoke the delicacy made up of half pork and beef, smoked and served alongside chilli sauce. The inside of the restaurant offers a throwback to the 1950s, all thanks to the lighting and the walls replete with pictures of celebrities and political leaders. You will feel as if you are one of the natives when you are in the famous restaurant in Washington DC to have hot dogs.
Some may be having the food item in the Ben’s Next Door next to the Ben’s Chili Bowl. As the name implies, this restaurant was opened in 2008 by the same people. The mural of Bill Cosby was repainted in the former restaurant of the two five years since its launch in 2017. The place is famous among the African American ethnic group, something which the sidewall murals suggest.
Prior to the first inauguration of Barack Obama as the forty-forth American President in 2009, he walked into the restaurant, and stood in the queue to eat food. You can even watch a music concert in the historic theater near the hot dog joint to make the most of the food tour Washington DC.