By Lenore T. Adkins, Special to the AFRO

It’s Ben’s Chili Bowl’s 60th birthday party and everyone’s invited.

The historic eatery’s original location at 1213 U Street NW is celebrating six decades of life on August 22nd while honoring Virginia Ali, the restaurant’s surviving cofounder.

Ben’s Chili Bowl (Twitter Photo)

The block party runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and kicks off with a news conference. At 7:30 p.m., the party moves to the nearby Lincoln Theater for the 60th Anniversary Celebration Gala entitled “A Tribute to Virginia Ali” to support the Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation, which helps local schools, families, students and neighborhoods.

All of the proceeds from the eatery’s five locations are going to the foundation.

Created in 1958, by Virginia Ali and her late husband Ben when Washington D.C. was still segregated, Ben’s Chili Bowl and its half smokes have become icons that attracts tourists from all over the world. It was one of the few businesses that remained open during the city’s uprisings that followed Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.

Through the years, the restaurant has attracted countless celebrities and politicos, including former President Barack Obama, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Harry Belafonte, Miles, Davis, Nat “King” Cole, MLK, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Chris Tucker, Danny Glover, Dave Chapelle, Serena Williams, Usher, Nick Cannon, Lance Gross, George Clinton, Chaka Khan, Tommy Davidson and Chris Rock.

Ben’s Chili Bowl has been a darling of the food industry. It won awards for its cuisine, including the “American Classics” award from the prestigious James Beard Foundation and a 2009 award from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. And it was featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.”

The eatery has also appeared in several movies including “The Pelican Brief” starring Denzel Washington and “Talk to Me,” starring Don Cheadle.

Earlier this month, the D.C. City Council passed an emergency resolution to rename the block that houses the restaurant as “Ben’s Chili Bowl Way” in  honor of its 60th anniversary.

And on June 24, the AFRO honored Virginia Ali, the restaurant’s co-founder, owner and operator, with the newspaper’s “Women in Excellence Reaching Higher Award” for her contributions to the community.