Ben's Chili Bowl

Row 1

America's Best Hotdogs
1213 U St NW (at 12th St. NW)
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-0909
Hot Dogs
Mon–Thu: 6:00 AM–2:00 AM Fri: 6:00 AM–4:00 AM Sat: 7:00 AM–4:00 AM Sun: 11:00 AM–Midnight


The celebrity (and presidential) photos on the wall are clear indications of Ben's Chili Bowl's city landmark status, but the continuous lines out the door (and its election to this list) are evidence that the restaurant's chili cheese dogs are some of the best in the country. But those in the know dont just order "dogs," they get the half-smokes, a half-pork, half-beef smoked sausage which is a native D.C. specialty supposedly invented by Ben Ali, the original proprietor, whose sons took over the restaurant after his death. As the U Street Corridor/Shaw neighborhood around it has gentrified and become trendy, it's a more than 50-year-old bastion of down-home D.C. where college kids, old-timers, and celebrities are all welcome as long as they're willing to stand in line like everybody else though the president eats for free.

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The half-smoke is a half-pork, half-beef sausage native to DC, generously covered with Ben's chili. The result unparalleled deliciousness. Adam Richman, Man v. Food
Travel Channel
Mon, 11/15/2010 - 11:39
An iconic Washington establishment, Ben's Chili Bowl is well-suited for late-night half-smoke cravings. [Eater 38 Member]
Thu, 07/28/2011 - 13:26
Bring cash!
Fri, 04/16/2010 - 11:28
They pour grease over the hotdogs. So good!
DC After Five
Sun, 11/14/2010 - 12:44
The line is optional if you know what you're doing.
Tue, 06/02/2009 - 03:24
Go to Ben's and get a chili half smoke, fries, and a shake. Yes, it's worth the wait in line! Also, keep an eye out for the list of people who get to eat there for free.
Thu, 03/05/2009 - 14:53
During the riots, black activists obtained permission to allow Ben's to stay open past curfew. Celebrate Black History by checking out amazing African American contributions:
Thu, 01/31/2013 - 09:34
Three words: Chili Half Smoke
Thu, 01/28/2010 - 17:12
Landmark. Happy staff = Happy customer
Josei ==> @ShoesNFood
Tue, 09/14/2010 - 21:04
U can't walk on U St. Without stopping at Ben's Chili Bowl.
Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:08
Try the Half-smoke with chili and cheese fries
Fri, 11/26/2010 - 15:48
a must-hit when in D.C. Cosby, Obama and family eat free; everyone else, cash-only.
Sat, 07/06/2013 - 04:34
Get the Chili Half Smoke w/ Mustard & Onions -- even if you don't like mustard, onions or chili. Heck, even if you don't like meat. This is why God made Ben.
Fri, 02/04/2011 - 08:03
Get the half smoke all the way and an order of chili cheese fries all the way. You'll be good to go for a week! I <3 Ben's
Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:12
Half smoke. No doubt. Make sure you know what you want and don't be in the way.
Sat, 05/22/2010 - 16:02
Try the cakes!!
Mon, 04/19/2010 - 15:10
Half smoke baby!
Fri, 07/16/2010 - 21:03
Go to Ben's Chili Bowl and get chili half-smoke.
Fri, 03/12/2010 - 12:11
Go to Ben's Chili Bowl and get a Chili Half Smoke. Bring cash, though. Ben's doesn't take cards.
Sat, 01/16/2010 - 08:26
Get the half smokes, a beef-and-pork sausage that's lightly smoked and served with mustard, onions and, of course, chili.
Mon, 08/05/2013 - 12:12
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