Friday, March 21, 2008

Ben's Chili Bowl

Always located on U Street, never going out of business--even during the infamous 1968 Riots. Ben's Chili Bowl is a Washington Institution like few others. Now--this eatery is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary in a very special way. Over the course of it's five decades of existence--This NW Restaurant has witnessed all three incarnations of Major League Baseball in Our Nation's Capital. Yes, it's true--Ben's was in operation during, not only The Original Washington Senators time of existence, but The Expansion Senators--as well. Now--for the first time in it's fabled lore--Ben's Chili Bowl will partner and support Our Washington Nationals. Ben's is opening a second location at New Nationals Park. The very first addition to the franchise. For each and every home game of Our Washington Nationals--Ben's Chili Bowl will provide an entire lineup of their well known fare.

Their Famous Half Smokes with Chili (and cheese--if desired) will be on sale on South Capitol Street. And late this morning--Ben's Ownership, along with Our Washington Nationals, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, and a HOST of City Council Members, Nationals Founding Parters and local politicians--joined in the salute.

Even Our Lovable Loser--Teddy--was on hand. The Most Popular of Our Racing Presidents trekked out to U Street to celebrate. But, Teddy declined any offerings of the food at hand. Teddy's Manager's explaining--Mr. Roosevelt is in conditioning for the 2008 Racing Season.

“Today, we are here to recognize what was always a vision of those who proposed having this ballpark in The Nation’s Capital," said Mayor Fenty. "And that is there would be great partnerships with local businesses. We have amazing local businesses in Washington, DC and I think Ben’s Chili Bowl is one of the top business's you think of. I am so excited to know they are going to be a partner with The Nationals when the stadium opens next week. But, I am also excited there will be 12 local businesses that will have a similar role at the new ballpark. Suffice it to say, District Residents will be excited to go down to the stadium and to get a Ben’s Chili Bowl—Chili Dog.”

The Ben's Concession Stand will be located on The Main Concourse behind Section 110. But, don't worry if your seats at New Nationals Park are located on a different level. The Ben's Hot Dogs and The Half Smokes will be available at 12 different locations throughout the park. The Chili as well. Most everywhere in the ballpark—chili will be available for even the basic hot dog—provided by Ben’s.

Nizam Ali (Ben's Co-Owner) proudly stating: "It's 'The National Dish of DC' so its got to be available everywhere." But, that's not all--Mr. Ali is excited about his new partnership. “Wow—Talk about a special day for Ben’s Chili Bowl. So many people had a hand in this. Lots of people have asked us to go to different places—but its never been right and no one has ever cared enough to say what can we do to help and make sure it’s right. This (New Nationals Park) will be our second location. We are stepping out of our base here. We are heading over to the stadium. This is not a small move. So, it’s very important that everything is good and correct for us. They have made it so. The Lerner Family, The Nationals, Centerplate have been great to work with. And of course—everyone standing behind me here helped to make this happen. So, we are extremely excited as we come up on our 50th Anniversary."

Of course Team President Stan Kasten got in his remarks: “Life is full of hard choices and the worst fear all Nationals Fans have for this coming season will be those nights when they will have to decide to go out to a great evening at New Nationals Park, or go have a GREAT MEAL at Ben’s Chili Bowl? Have No Fear Fans!! No longer will you have to make that very difficult choice. You can do both by going to Nationals Park. Come see a great game, have a great day or evening and also have the very best Ben’s Chili Bowl has to offer. All of you know that I am new to town. And as I have been learning my way to understanding The Institutions—I have to tell you—I have been here—eating by myself—many, many times. I really have. This place is so full of history. I look up on the wall and I see great friends of mine. Maynard Jackson (Former Atlanta Mayor) was a close friend of mine. A great friend of mine. This is a true story. When we opened up the park in Atlanta—we also had parking issues!! Imagine that? (everyone chuckling) We had real questions about how we were going to work it out. The Final Deal was made between me and Maynard—having breakfast—at his dining room table. He was a Great Man. And I know how much time he used to spend here, because he used to talk about Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC. Julian Bond did not spend a lot of time in Georgia—but his brother James was a 25 Year Season Ticket Holder for The Hawks (NBA) and he used to always talk about Ben’s Chili Bowl for years. I am thrilled to come here and I could not be happier to be molding this into what we want--The Nationals, The Ballpark, to become a real Institution. We have been calling it (Nationals Park) Washington’s New Monument and to be able to incorporate some of our older Institutions--really makes this all a dream come true for all of us with The Nationals, and with The Lerner Family and Our Partners. So, I couldn’t be happier. This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship that I know is going to go on for a very long time.”

Over the course of the one hour affair--DC Councilman Jim Graham and Kwame Brown got their two cents in. Even Maryland State's Attorney Doug Gansler was on hand and--inadvertently--became involved in one of the funnier moments when he stated: “As you know—The Washington Redskins are located in Maryland.” Immediately followed by Kwame Brown piping out: “For Now!!” Even out of season--The Redskins are a hot topic.

But, the best came late--after the speeches when everyone was enjoying the Ben's food spread provided. As I was chatting with Bill Hall--from The Law Firm Winston and Strawn (Mr. Hall is Baseball Chairman for The DC Sports & Entertainment Commission)--Mr. Kasten yells over to the very tall Mr. Hall: "Bill--I thought you were 'TEDDY' for a moment." Bill responds: "Well, I know I could at least win a few races!!" Whereupon Our Team President fires back: "You see, that's the whole point. If you won--you would not be as popular as Teddy!!' Everyone cracks up laughing.

Many Fans of Our Washington Nationals specifically asked for this partnership. Today--Ben's Chili Bowl Officially accepted the challenge. Their well liked fare with be available at New Nationals Park. So, if you have never enjoyed one of their Half Smokes--you can try one soon--while watching a Major League Baseball Game.


Anonymous said...

This looks great! I can't wait. Ben's is the first place I'm going to. ... with a cold beer in hand:)

WFY said...

Ben's also made it through the Green Line construction. It may have been the only business on U Street to survive the riots and Metro.

Anonymous said...


Who is the woman who is 3rd in from the left in that group photo? She is absolutely stunning!

Eric said...

Now I know what I'll be eating on Opening Night.... mmmm... half smoke and chili..... mmmm..

Screech's Best Friend said...

Mike Edgar--The lady is Rachel Baker, the wife of Paxton Baker--Washington Nationals Founding Partner, standing just behind her to the left. He was the Master of Ceremonies for the Ben's Chili Bowl Event.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, SBF. Paxton Baker appears to be a lucky man!