Ben's Chili Bowl is dishing out free half-smokes
Ben's Chili Bowl is celebrating its 65th anniversary at the original U Street location with free meals and a neighborhood block party on Tuesday.
Why it matters: The Ali family has welcomed all stripes since 1958 — locals, presidents, activists, tourists — and they show no signs of stopping.
Flashback: Ben and Virginia Ali spent their $5,000 life savings to open the restaurant, located along what was then Black Broadway. The gathering spot survived the '68 riots, Metro construction, and neighborhood upheaval.
- Its celebrity wall runs deep: Dr. King, Ella Fitzgerald, and Serena Williams, among other notables. It was President-elect Obama's first stop for lunch.
- Guests can snag one free meal per person while supplies last. On the menu: hot dogs (beef, chicken, or veggie), and of course, a half-smoke.
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