Ben’s Chili Bowl, possibly the best chili in America?

During my short stint on the East Coast, my friend Jolene and I visited Washington DC and stopped by the famous joint Ben's Chili Bowl. How famous is this place, you might ask? Well it's famous enough that President Obama has been there and according to house rules, only Obama and Bill Cosby get to eat there for free and nobody else.

So we headed there on a Saturday night and ended up waiting about half an hour, maybe more, before we could order. The place was packed with people waiting to get the delicious chili and I don’t blame them. I also really like the atmosphere at Ben’s – kinda hole in wall, hectic but fun and there are people singing and yelling everywhere.

They have a pretty extensive menu of items, but most people go there for the Chili Half Smoke with everything on it. From their menu:

Our signature dish! Experience the Chili Half-Smoke, originally made famous by Ben’s in 1958 and a favorite of Mr. Cosby’s since the early 60’s. We put this 1/4lb. half pork and beef smoked sausage on a warm steamed bun and top it with mustard, onions and our spicy homemade chili sauce. There are few culinary delights better at any price. Want it well done? Have yours split and grilled on request.

We asked people in line and they recommended the Half Smoke as well, so that’s what we got – with everything on it for the full experience. I was feeling particularly hungry that day from all the sight-seeing, so I also ordered a chili cheese fries to share. From the first picture above, you can see the portion size is pretty generous. The Half Smoke is a decent size with TONS of chili (and makes for quite a messy meal, I must say) and the chili fries was huge!

The chili was by far one of the best I’ve had. I don’t really even know how to describe and explain it. Everything just went so well together. To top it all off, the chili didn’t have beans, which I tremendously appreciated because I’m not a big beans person. We ended up devouring everything except for the chips and I’m so glad I got to come check out this historic chili joint.

If you’re ever in the Washington DC area, definitely try to check it out. Writing this post is making me hungry…and I could sure go for a chili dog right about now.

Pictures courtesy of my friend Jolene. Thanks for taking me to Ben’s Chili Bowl!


About eatingwithderek

Just a guy eating his way through life.

One comment

  1. jolene

    so good! i want to go back!

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