Bens Chili Bowl

If you haven’t gone to Ben’s Chili Bowl et—go there at least once…. If you are a local— you go here for drunk food. If you are a tourist— you go here cuz Obama says its the ish….. Bill Cosby is a fan—- I give it aA 5 out of 5…., purely on the atmosphere alone (music, deocrations, crowd).

Probably a 3 for food, and a 1 for cleanliness.

Insider’s Note: Only 2 people eat for free here, Bill Cosby and President Obama/family (it’s Bo’s favorite people food). So don’t even think of trying to get a free meal.

No matter what time you get here, you will have to wait in line (they are open til like 4 am). For about 40 minutes. The food is not worth the wait, but the atmosphere and people watching definitely is. If I lived in DC, and ever needed a culture shock, or stimulation, I would come here and just stand in line.

There are pictures of black people everywhere. On their celebrity wall (of all black people), we didn’t recognize one name. There is a picture, or flag, or something on every single inch of the wall. All vintage, aka, old and have never been changed. They do have their own Bill Cosby wall, and president Obama wall. You can even buy a shirt that says, “I Ate where president obama ate!”. They love obama. They also love MJ , as they played many of his songs. The crowd was slightly humming along to them too (definitely good people watching).

I honestly felt like I was immersed in DC, in the 40’s or 50’s or 60’s, during a civil rights movement. The energy was so positive, inspiring, and yet I almost felt like i was intruding on someone else’s era, and race. It was a great window, or portrayal of this raw yet famous culture.

Because I don’t like anything here, I got a shake and fries. Neither were great. Mikaela got the classic chili dog, but she didn’t want me to write in my yelp how it was- but she finished the whole thing. Greg got a hotdog and a shake.

I think my favorite part was when I was up in the front of the line, almost ready to order, and could watch them all cook/work. All employees were friendly, so entertaining, and really loved their jobs. They were so busy, it was fascinating to watch.  OH yeah and bring CASH.

If you are a tourist in DC, you have to go here. Even if you hate all the food (like me). It would have been a pain to wait all that time, and to go out in the cold and eat, but we watched like hawks for open tables and snagged one half way though the line. T

The history of this place is what makes it real, is what makes it a 5, and is what makes  it so reputable. Any place that has this good of an atmosphere, can get away with having crappy food.

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