DATE: Wednesday, August 22nd
TIME: 11:00AM- 3:00PM – PRESS CONFERENCE followed by BEN’S BLOCK PARTY
PLACE: BEN’S CHILI BOWL, 1213 U St, NW
At 7:30PM the celebration continues at the Lincoln Theater with Ben’s Chili Bowl’s 60th Anniversary Celebration Gala, “A Tribute To Virginia Ali” benefitting theBen’s Chili Bowl Foundation (www.benschilibowlfoundation.
Visitors to Washington, DC have usually heard about Ben’s Chili Bowl long before their arrival. Many remember the news of President Obama stopping by to enjoy a Chili Half Smoke. Ben’s has been seen on The Steve Harvey Show, The Daily Show, Man vs. Food, CNN, Oprah, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Larry King Live, Larry the Cable Guy, and countless other local, national and international shows, newspapers and magazines.
Ben’s Chili Bowl has also been seen in films like Russell Crowe’s State of Play, Denzel Washington’s The Pelican Brief, and Don Cheadle’s Talk to Me. In the old days, guests included Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other luminaries. More recently, French President Sarkozy, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, members of the US Congress, and many other noteworthy political and sports figures have stopped by to sample the world famous Ben’s cuisine. Other recent visitors include Dave Chappelle, Bruno Mars, Serena Williams, Taraji P Henson, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, George Lopez, Terrence Howard, Jimmy Fallon, Usher, Bono, Nick Cannon, Sara Jessica Parker, Tyrese, Lance Gross, George Clinton, Chaka Khan, Joe Mantegna, Rachel Ray, Chris Tucker, Tommy Davidson, Pauly Shore, Harry Belafonte, and Danny Glover to name a few.
In addition to being known as the place in DC where everyday people brush shoulders with celebrities, Ben’s Chili Bowl has also been honored to receive numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious “America’s Classics” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008, Ben and Virginia Ali were given the Key to the City by DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, and in 2009 Ben’s was honored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. In 2010, the George Washington University enshrined Ben’s Chili Bowl’s historic papers, documents and photos into its main Gelman Library, and all documents have been digitized for students and scholars throughout the world to examine.
Yet, in spite of all the world recognition and fame, local residents of DC, Maryland and Virginia know the real truth about Ben’s Chili Bowl, and that truth is simple. They know that Ben’s is first and foremost about FAMILY and COMMUNITY. For 60 years, Ben’s has graciously served the people, and every guest has always been embraced as family. When segregation was still alive, Ben’s offered a peaceful gathering place and safe haven for ALL people, regardless of any differences in background or perspective. Society has grown and changed, but Ben’s remains the same and continues to celebrate people from all walks of life as they come together to eat, laugh, and discuss life as they see it. On Wednesday, August 22nd, please join everyone at Ben’s Chili Bowl as they celebrate 60 years.