METRO EVENTS – (PHOTOS) Ben’s Chili Bowl celebrates 65 years as a Washington, D.C. institution


By Nina Glick, Photojournalist

August 23, 2023

Photos by Nina Glick and DC Spotlight Newspaper

On the 65th Anniversary of the opening of Ben’s Chili Bowl, prominent figures in DC came to speak about their greatest memories of the Washington, D.C. institution and give thanks to Virginia Ali who founded the restaurant with her husband, Ben, at only 24 years old.  Ben Ali died in 2009 after building up the restaurant with his wife.

To celebrate, Ben’s Chili Bowl partnered with Pepsi and Lays to give guests a free meal at its original U Street location.

The Ali Family

Ali presented with a congratulatory proclamation from Mayor Bowser

Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts Sheila Johnson (left) and Cathy Hughes with Virginia Ali

Ali with Chairman of the DC City Council Phil Mendelson

(From left to right) Ambassador to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago Anthony Phillips-Spencer, Dania Jolley from Events DC, Virginia Ali, and Cathy Hughes hold gifts from DC United, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, and Super Bowl Champion Doug Williams

Gift from the Washington Commanders

GW University President Ellen M. Granberg (left) and Ward 1 Councilwoman Brianne K. Nadeau (right)

Washington Commanders President Jason Wright (left), Super Bowl Champion Doug Williams (middle), and United States Shadow Senator
from the District of Columbia Paul Strauss (right)

Cora Masters Barry (left) and Cathy Hughes (right) with Virginia Ali


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