Ben's Chili Bowl
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- 92%Local Culture
- 79%Budget Travelers
- 70%History Buffs
- 63%Family Travelers
- 57%Adventure Travelers
Member Reviews (47)Write a review
- Ben's Chili BowlMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsLocal CultureBusiness Travelers+ 7Jul 31, 2014
I was looking forward to coming to this place for a long time, and they did not disappoint! A week before visiting DC, I was able to chat w/ the owner (Sage). Extremely friendly and customer oriented and offered a few places to go during my visit. On my last night in DC, finally got a chance to drop by and it is such a convenient location (right across U Street Metro Station).
Best chili cheese fries EVER! Chili and that awesome fake yellow cheese was just oozing and pouring out of the basket. Definitely a heart attack worthy plate! After leaving, I was a bit sad I couldn't bring some home with me.Recommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsLocal CultureBudget Travelers+ 3Feb 20, 2014
This a hidden gem in the heart of Washington DC. It even opens up a 6 morning so I had to have a Chile dog. There is disability parking along side of the building. This part of the historical trail of the U street corridor.Recommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsLocal CultureBudget Travelers+ 4Sep 11, 2012
If you've never tasted a half smoke, consider yourself lucky. Why? Because then you'll be satisfied with the normal, everyday hot dogs that people outside of Washington, DC are subjected to.
Granted, there are some decent ones, but none like the quarter pound of half pork and smoked beef sausage topped with mustard, onions and the infamous spicy chili sauce over a steamed bun. If that sentence didn't make you drool, then congratulations, you are a robot.
The half smoke is meatier than a normal hot dog and tastier than a normal polish dog. The spicy kick juices things up to blend everything together perfectly.
$5.50 buys a half smoke with chili and a side of chips. Not the cheapest or healthiest option, but your taste buds will give you a standing ovation upon consumption.
Ben's Chili Bowl is located across the street from the U Street stop on the Metro Green Line. Within walking distance for tourists visiting the White House, or a quick bus/metro ride away. No excuses. Go visit now!
- Ben's Chili BowlMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsLocal CultureBudget Travelers+ 4Apr 23, 2014
This is the place to be when something big is going down in D.C. I've been told that Presidents have eaten here, and my cousin was present when said President was enjoying the delicious foods this place has to offer. Cheap too!Recommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsBusiness TravelersFamily Travelers+ 2Jul 11, 2014
This is a famous spot in DC for Chili, Chili dogs, and Chili Cheese Fries. Its located on U Street, an area that was the center of black culture in DC for a time, that later became overridden with crime and has since seen a renaissance of sorts. YumRecommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsLocal CultureBudget Travelers+ 2Jul 05, 2012
Listed on many of DC's must visit lists, it's a must! Just try to go late at night when you already have quite a bit to drink! It will make the experience a little more fun and the food tastes a little bit better! :)
- Ben's Chili BowlMember ofLocal CultureFoodiesLuxury TravelersJul 17, 2014
Now in its 56th year, this family-run U Street institution dishes out dogs, burgers, and chili con carne to a democratic mix of college kids, neighborhood residents, and flag-pin-wearing Hill staffers, not to mention presidents elect—Obama famously ate here a few days before his inauguration. Bill Cosby is such a fan of the rib-sticking chili (made with ground beef, green peppers, and onions) that he recorded an ad-libbed ode that now serves as the restaurant’s telephone hold music. Pony up the extra 40 cents to have your bowl topped with shredded cheddar and fried onions, or try it on a signature half-smoke (pork and beef sausage) with a squirt of yellow mustard.Recommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlJun 16, 2014
"Ben's Chili Bowl is a landmark restaurant in Washington, D.C., located at 1213 U Street, next to Lincoln Theatre, in the Shaw neighborhood of northwest D.C. It is known locally for its chili dogs, half-smokes, and milkshakes, and has been an integral part of the neighborhood's history since its founding in 1958. It was frequented by both police and protesters during the 1968 Washington, D.C. riots, and is almost always visited by celebrities visiting the city, such as Bill Cosby, Chris Tucker, George Clooney, Piers Morgan, Beyonce, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Leonardo DiCaprio and almost every member of the Washington Redskins (!) among many others. The current President has been spotted there twice :)Recommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlCommunity ManagerMember ofLocal CultureBudget TravelersVegetarian+ 2Jan 21, 2014
I'm so glad I visited this place before I became a vegetarian. The food is exactly what it is supposed to be - perfectly delicious and filling after a few drinks at 1 a.m., or as a casual weekend lunch. Be prepared for long waits on weekend nights, and to eat outside standing up when the booths (oh, what history those booths have seen!) fill up. This is a DC must-visit.
- Ben's Chili BowlJan 21, 2014
Tourist stops are touristy for a reason usually. This U Street corridor stop is a DC icon. Serving up half smokes with chili, onions and cheese sauce or fries laden with the same, shakes and sodas through the race riots to the Obama administration. Only two people eat for free: Cosby and Obama so bring cash. Because they don't accept credit. Queue up, place your order, and prepare to roll your sleeves up.Recommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlCommunity ManagerAmbassadorMember ofLocal CultureFoodiesBackpackers+ 4Aug 10, 2013
There are few moments in life when we're fortunate enough to pass upon food so glorious as to make the "List."
You know the "List."
You HAVE a "List."
The List itemizes all the foods you crave daily. These are things you would travel miles for, and, if it came down to it, even kill for.
Here is my List:
1.) BBQ Beef and Chicken Plate, Yummy Korean BBQ, Honolulu
2.) California Burrito, Santana's Mexican Grill, San Diego
3.) Pizza, Ray's Pizza, New York City
4.) Kashi GoLean Crunch, It's a cereal, Anywhere
and the newest item to grace my List:
5.) Turkey Burger, Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington DC
This was honestly the best turkey burger I've ever had. Ever. The bread was delicately toasty, grilled on burger-end and lightly crisp on the surface. The cheese was slightly melted, and the vegetable-to-meat ratio was perfect. But the burger patty... I don't know where they got that turkey from, or if it's accurate that the item be listed under "healthy options," but it was moist and flavorful and oh, so divine. (My mouth is watering already.)
Bill Cosby is known to frequent the place, and there's a half-smoke chili dog he made famous. It's alright, but not as spectacular as the turkey burger. Anyway, I wouldn't order it just because he said so. He says the darndest things...Recommended for:
- Ben's Chili BowlMay 18, 2013
You know that feeling when you expect the obvious, then out of the blue something totally different surprises you.
Like watching Batman and having Robin beating up the villain.
Like expecting the star millionaire athlete to lead your team to victory, just to have the rookie come off the bench and steal the show.
Like visiting your girlfriend, and finding out her younger sister is a hotter, richer, and kinder, and she wants to spend the weekend in Bora Bora with you, on her expense.
We've all seen this played out, well maybe not the third scenario, but I just had it played out this weekend at Ben's Chili Bowl.
The half smoked sausage stole the chili's thunder.
This quarter pound sausage is Bill Cosby's favorite, and topping it off with chili makes it even better. What makes it so smacking good is you have to work at every bite. I mean that. Put a good chomp on your sausage and feel the snap of the skin on your teeth. Now ladies, some of you know what I'm talking about and guys, stop wincing.
I also tried the fries and beef chili burger, but for my hard earned money, it's the half smoked for me.
- Ben's Chili BowlMar 09, 2013
This place has been open for decades, probably the only one in the U Street area that witnessed the 68 riots.
Barack Obama has been spotted in the joint, that serves arguably the best hot dogs and chili in town. Perfect to grab a bite after hours, although the place is packed and there are lines.
- Ben's Chili BowlOct 08, 2012
when in DC must do what the locals do right?
My friend took me to this place because he felt it was definitely a must place since locals love this place.
there is not only valet in front of this stand, there is also a photog taking pictures for a fee so you can remember this moment forever.
I did feel a bit out of place - I had to decide what i wanted before they asked. After staring at the menu for a bit while we waited in line - I got a half smoked (with everything) and fries. My friend got a chili dog with chili fries. We scarfed these suckers down fast. SO GOOD.
I was ready for the heartburn to start.
There were pictures of the owners with various celebrities on the walls
the one thing I loved the most about the restaurant was a sign that said "The only people who get anything for free is Bill Cosby and the Obamas"