DC Iconic Institution: Ben’s Chili Bowl

Since moving to DC, I’ve been hearing recommendations to go to Ben’s Chili Bowl. So, when we were attending a concert in the U Street area last winter, we finally checked it out.

As it turns out, there are actually two parts to Ben’s: the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl, where you stand at the counter or sit in a booth to eat your food out of a more traditional fast food basket, and Ben’s Next Door, the more upscale version of Ben’s Chili Bowl which serves some of the same food options (at the bar, at least) along with some more upscale foods in a restaurant atmosphere. Being the middle of a DC winter and VERY cold and having a bit of time to kill before the concert, and knowing we’d be standing for the length of the concert and might want to rest our feet beforehand, we opted for bar seating at Ben’s Next Door so that we could sit and stay warm for longer.

We tried the Ben’s Original Half-Smoke and sweet potato fries, both of which tasted amazing.

Months later we returned when friends visited DC and tried the half-smoke and chili cheese fries at the actual Ben’s Chili Bowl. As expected, both were delicious. :)


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