Getting chilly in DC!

January 12, 2010 at 12:00 am | Posted in Dinner | 9 Comments

So indeed we were verrrrry chilly in DC on Friday night. Probably 20 and windy! Very difficult to walk happily around town! So in addition to being chilly on Friday, we ate chili!! Perfect for the cold and it was definitely a fun highlight to our evening. One of our favorite One World Cafe bartenders is Chris and he happens to be in a band called the Fishnet Stalkers. He was opening for the Upper Crust at the Black Cat. We needed to get some grub before we went to the concert, so I went searching on google maps and what did I spot only three blocks away?? Ben’s Chili Bowl!! I recognized this place from Tony Bourdain’s visit and hearing about President Obama’s love for this establishment

This place was hustling and bustling around 7pm on Friday night, slightly less crazy than when we walked by again on our way home from the concert! About 15 people in line and the booths and counter seats were full. They only take cash, so I was glad to have some moola leftover from Christmas presents! Ned knew he wanted the Half smokey dog and I had my sights on vegetarian chili (from my early perusing on the web..). When I saw those delicious hot dogs roasting on the griddle I knew I had to have one, but just one! The half smokey is a half pork/ half beef smoked sausage, homemade on site! They top it with onions, mustard and their famous chili. Check out my blurry iphone pictures below!

They have nice old school signage- love it. And apparently from the small black and white sign on the bottom right side of the picture, the Obama ladies and Bill Cosby are allowed to eat free! But not the President, and thats because Bill Cosby said so! haahha…

Here is the view of the griddle from the ordering line. I think there are the half smokies, turkey hot dogs and all beef ones cooking on there. It smelled so good!

Here was my small vegetarian chili. I would have to say that I didn’t really like it. I think I would have liked more beans in the chili, and so after I had my half smokey I picked out only the red beans! The meat substitute just wasn’t doing it for me.

Here was my beautiful feasting highlight of the evening. See that nice crusty burnt end on the right side?? That was the best part! The sausage had a fantastic crusty outer layer or casing and it just tasted so good. So porky and beefy- its just good. The chili was pretty messy and wanted to keep falling all over my hand, but it was fun making a mess.

Ned ordered cheese fries in addition to two smokeys and they were not spectacular. Reminded me of any fries you could get at a local fast food joint (not chains though- better than chains) and the cheese was good ol easy cheese outta the pot! We decided we wouldn’t order these the next time we came.

Micah and Laura also got the chili cheese fries. I think these were better than the just cheese ones, but all of these fries were certainly not necessary for our meal!

All in all, this place really knows how to make a tasty hot dog. This is classic Americana people! Go check it out!!

Ben's Chili Bowl on Urbanspoon


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  1. Mmmm, yum. Good for you for trying to stay healthy while eating a chili dog!

    • yup I tried and left the place perfectly satiated while everyone else was so freaking full!

  2. I love the signage!

  3. I love the pic of the front of the joint! Nice work!!

  4. When I worked in DC there were a bunch of guys that always went to Ben’s. Never made it with them, but I was always intriguied.

    Have you ever been to Ann’s Footlongs at Marley Station. My mom ate one every week way back when she was pregnant with me. She still swears they’re the best hot dogs in the world!

    • I’ve never had Ann’s. I’ll have to tell Ned!

  5. Bissy, I remember eating at Ann’s when we lived in Pasadena. It was like a local Ritchie Highway place that I guess went to the mall. Maybe Marfi had them before she was born.

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