comscore

Ben's Chili Bowl

1213 U St Nw, Washington, DC 20009
Been here

Tribes: Who likes this place?

Who Likes This Place?

What the scores mean:
These scores tell you how well-liked a place is in each Tribe. Gogobot Tribes are groups who share a certain travel style, like Family Travelers or History Buffs.

Which Gogobot Tribe do you belong to? Join now

  • 98%
    Foodies
  • 92%
    Local Culture
  • 79%
    Budget Travelers
  • 70%
    History Buffs
  • 63%
    Family Travelers
  • 60%
    Trendsters
  • 57%
    Backpackers
  • 57%
    Adventure Travelers
Show more

Member Reviews (47)Write a review

Students
Sort by
  • Ben's Chili BowlPro 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:History BuffsLocal CultureStudentsFamily Travelers
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl
    Member of
    Budget Travelers
    Family Travelers
    Foodies
    + 2
    • Adventure Travelers
    • Nightlife Lovers

    Great chili!!! Rice bowl

    Recommended for:Family TravelersStudents
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl
    Member of
    Students
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    + 4
    • Budget Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Backpackers
    • Adventure Travelers

    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:Budget TravelersFoodiesLocal Culture
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Foodies
    Luxury Travelers
    Nightlife Lovers
    Recommended for:FoodiesLocal CultureBudget Travelers
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili BowlPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Business Travelers
    + 7
    • Foodies
    • Wellness
    • Luxury Travelers
    • Adventure Travelers
    • Nightlife Lovers
    • Spiritual Seekers
    • Trendsters

    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:FoodiesLocal CultureBudget TravelersAdventure Travelers
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Foodies
    Luxury Travelers

    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:FoodiesHistory BuffsLocal Culture
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(1)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    "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:Budget TravelersBusiness TravelersFamily TravelersLocal Culture
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(1)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili BowlPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 3
    • Foodies
    • History Buffs
    • Adventure Travelers

    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:Budget TravelersFoodiesHistory BuffsLocal Culture
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    The experience is awesome and the food smell is enticing after a night out along U street; however, the half smokes are average and the chili is not all that great.

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili BowlCommunity ManagerPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Vegetarian
    + 2
    • History Buffs
    • Art & Design Lovers

    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.

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili BowlPro 2014
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Business Travelers
    Family Travelers
    + 2
    • Foodies
    • Nightlife Lovers

    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. Yum

    Recommended for:Budget TravelersFoodiesLocal CultureTrendsters
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(1)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 12
    • Business Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Wellness
    • Vegetarian
    • Green Travelers
    • Backpackers
    • History Buffs
    • Adventure Travelers
    • Nightlife Lovers
    • Spiritual Seekers
    • Trendsters
    • Art & Design Lovers

    A MUST for anyone traveling to D.C. Yes, it's touristy, but it's also not. It's a favorite for the locals. And the food's got soul.

    Recommended for:FoodiesHistory BuffsLocal Culture
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili BowlCommunity ManagerAmbassadorPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Foodies
    Backpackers
    + 4
    • History Buffs
    • Nightlife Lovers
    • Trendsters
    • Art & Design Lovers

    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:BackpackersBudget TravelersFoodiesTrendsters
    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    Kind of cool to sit and eat a half smoke knowing it's a Bill Cosby favorite. The nostalgia is everywhere and the food was delicious.

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    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.

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    The Chili Bowl is no secret, and you'll probably find a busload of tourists inside. But somehow it remains a real neighborhood spot, where locals gossip over half-smokes and decide who the next president will be.

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    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.

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili BowlPro 2014

    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"

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili BowlPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Foodies
    + 2
    • History Buffs
    • Art & Design Lovers

    Can't give a review of the chili since I don't eat red meat, but the turkey burger, fries and chocolate shake I got were awfully good:-)

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(1)
    Report
  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    The chili half-smoke is amazing and I highly recommend it for all hot dog lovers out there! Their famous chili, spicy mustard, onions, and a juicy half smoke...there's nothing better. I got one and had to immediately get another.

    Comment.
    Was this review helpful?(0)
    Report

OverviewEdit

4.0 out of 5
47 members' reviews
3,683 people visited Ben's Chili Bowl
  • Price

    Cheap
  • Cuisine:

  • Open Hours:

    Breakfast & Lunch Mon.-Sat., Dinner nightly
  • Phone:

    (202) 667-0909

Nearby Hotels

Hotel Helix - a Kimpton Hotel
Hotel Helix - a Kimpton Hotel
Avg. rating:
7 reviews
The Jefferson, Washington DC
The Jefferson, Washington DC
Avg. rating:
5 reviews
Hilton Washington
Hilton Washington
Avg. rating:
9 reviews
View all Nearby Hotels

Nearby Attractions

U Street
U Street
Avg. rating:
20 reviews
U Street Music Hall
U Street Music Hall
Avg. rating:
5 reviews
Dickson Wine Bar
Dickson Wine Bar
Avg. rating:
3 reviews
View all Nearby Attractions

Nearby Restaurants

Busboys and Poets
Busboys and Poets
Avg. rating:
27 reviews
El Centro DF
El Centro DF
Avg. rating:
7 reviews
Dukem
Dukem
Avg. rating:
4 reviews
View all Nearby Restaurants