RIP Ben Ali

Ben Ali – founder of the world famous Ben’s Chilli Bowl passed away yesterday. This story is close to my heart as I’m an avid visitor of DC. I had the chance to visit Ben’s Chilli Bowl while I was in DC for the Inauguration – I took a photo because the queue was SO long. Located on the historial U-Street, Ben’s Chilli Bowl has been frequented by many a celebrity and even Pres. Obama himself.


Ben Ali, founder of the world famous Ben’s Chili Bowl, passed away on Wednesday, October 7th at 10:15pm.  He was at home with his wife, Virginia, and died peacefully of natural causes.  He was 82.

Family, friends, and countless fans of Ben’s will sorely miss the energetic and unforgettable personality of Ben Ali.  He was a true hero of the people and a great example of someone who actually epitomized the American dream.  He and his loving wife Virginia created a landmark institution in D.C., tantalizing generations of residents and visitors with their spicy chili dogs and half smokes, but more importantly touching people of all walks of life with their exemplary dedication to the D.C. community.

Although Ben has moved on, his legacy continues with his family at the Chili Bowl helm.  After surviving the 1968 riots and other challenges over the past 51 years, Ben has made sure that the Bowl will continue to serve its loyal customers for many years to come.   Ben and the entire Ali family have given us something that is rare these days: a continued sense of family and community that only seems to get bigger and better.  Ben Ali, we will miss you!

– Ben’s Chilli Bowl