Obama Gets a Half-Smoke at Ben's Chili Bowl
By Amy Argetsinger
For years, a sign at U Street's landmark Ben's Chili Bowl carried this message:
"Who eats free at Ben's: Bill Cosby. No one else."
During the 2008 race, they changed it: "Who eats free at Ben's: Bill Cosby. The Obama Family." And today, the president-elect finally investigated the offer.
Barack Obama arrived at the fast-food joint with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty shortly before 1 p.m. He posed with diners and staff, then returned to the counter to collect his order: a chili half-smoke and sweet tea, plus cheese fries and water for the mayor. They dined together at a two-person table.
Asked by a member of the traveling press pool about the significance of his visit, Obama said, "It means I'm going to get a hot dog."
And as for Ben's generous offer... As promised, they didn't try to charge him. Obama handed over a $20 bill anyway for what would have been a roughly $12 meal, reports our colleague N.C. Aizenman. Did he want change, the counterman asked. "No, we're straight," said the future prez.
Posted at 3:36 PM ET on Jan 10, 2009
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