BensChilli Bowl

The legendary Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant opened a new location at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Virginia on July 23. The newly opened Ben’s Chili Bowl is located in the DCA B/C Terminal pre-security area. “He would be very proud, he would really be very proud of his boys,” said Virginia Ali, owner, when asked what her late husband Ben Ali would say today. “He never thought any one of the three would have had such a passion for the Chili Bowl.” All three brothers, Sage, Kamal and Nizam, and their wives, Vida, Sonya, and Joytika, are committed to the operation of Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurants, Ben’s Next Door on U Street, and the soon to open Ben’s Chili Bowl and Ben’s Upstairs restaurants on the newly extended Capitol Hill H Street corridor. To celebrate the grand opening, the Ben’s Chili Bowl family held a ribbon cutting and the Chuck Brown Band performed in honor of the late, great Chuck Brown, another Washington, D.C. legend. Long lines of Ben’s foodie fans waited to enjoy the traditional 1950s style ambiance including its signage, hot grill, carryout counter tops, bar stools, and booths mixed together with great music from a fabulous sound system and a big screen television mounted for viewers to see footage of Ben’s famous moments in history. Many customers ordered and enjoyed Ben’s classic chili half smokes and dogs with cheese fries. Everyone came together for good food, fun, and to celebrate the restaurant’s legacy and its evolution. “We are just excited that U Street has finally shown up here at Reagan,” said Clarence LeJeune, regional vice president of MarketPlace Development for DCA. “And that the Ben’s Chili Bowl family, with all their great history, brought their business here to Reagan.”


Andrea “Aunni” Young

Special to the AFRO