Ben's Chili Bowl remembers Ben Ali
The family of Ben Ali, whose restaurant Ben's Chili Bowl has become a Washington institution, is remembering their father on the one year anniversary of his death. Patrons who stop by the U Street eatery today will receive a free memorial button, bearing Ali's image.
Ali, who died of congestive heart failure, opened the restaurant on U Street NW. in 1958. He was the mastermind behind the chili recipe that along with the half-smoke, made the diner famous. To this day, the recipe remains a closely-held family secret.
"His family-run diner on U Street NW. has been one of the most enduring institutions of Washington, a place where families meet after church and where night owls come to talk, flirt and, not least, eat," wrote The Post's Matt Schudel in Ali's obituary. "The landmark eatery opened when U Street was the city's glittering "Black Broadway," a strip of nightclubs and theaters that catered to Washington's black middle class and helped define the city's pulse and taste. It became a steadfast symbol of Washington's perseverance through good times and bad, feeding the dignitaries who came to Washington as well as the ordinary folks who call the District home.''
Hundreds of people attended Ali's memorial service.
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