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Posted at 5:55 PM ET, 03/23/2010

Ben's Chili Bowl -- there'll be an app for that

By Washington Post editors

Apple, meet the half-smoke.

Ben’s Chili Bowl, the venerated Washington restaurant, is going 21st century and working with the tech giant to create a mobile app that would allow users to place orders and find out about upcoming events.
“We have been blessed to be an icon in D.C., but to be able to compete in the world you have to be up on technology,” said Nizam Ali, co-owner of the historic U Street eatery founded by his father Ben 52 years ago. Ben Ali died in October.

Ali said he is consulting with officials from Apple to determine what needs to be done prior to April 5, when his family will launch a campaign asking the public to help design an iPhone application for the restaurant.

“It would be really cool to have a Chili Bowl logo up there,” Ali said as he held up an iPhone. "People can go on their app and gauge how long they have been waiting in line" or they can see who's at Ben's.

"It is going to be up to the designers to figure out what Ben's Chili Bowl needs in terms of an app," he added.
The app would be the latest step in the evolution and expansion of the family’s business. Ben’s Chili Bowl switched from electricity to wind power in 2007. “Mom and dad raised us really well,” Ali said. “We have to do what we can for our environment, the community and the nation.”

Ben’s Chili Bowl now has a stand at Nationals Park and a restaurant and bar called Next Door.

-- Hamil R. Harris

By Washington Post editors  | March 23, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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That must be great for the Ali's to never have to pay for advertising.

Posted by: dtysko | March 23, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"Ben’s Chili Bowl switched from electricity to wind power in 2007."

I didn't realize wind power wasn't real electricity. You might consider changing "electricity" to "the electrical grid."

Posted by: stuckinva | March 24, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Why does this place get so much advertising for free - the food is greasy crap. I ate there once for breakfast and swore never again. How many people have had heart attacks and died from eating at that grease pit?!

I've seen Hamil Harris who wrote this article - and dude - I hope you have slimmed down. You are the LAST person who should be eating this kind of grease junk in your condition. I'm saying that for your health and well being. Bless you.

Posted by: christy42 | March 24, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

It so ridiculous to see people make comments on here that are negative. This company has been on U St for so many years. Not only is it a well known spot that is thriving extremely well financially but it's AFRICAN AMERICAN OWNED! Is that why you are so upset? Keep your negative comments to yourself. If its a greasy spoon it's a damn good good greasy spoon beacuse the line is always out the door with all types of people patronizing it!!! Get a life and stop hating on Ben's Chili Bowl!!

Posted by: hairdva73 | March 24, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

but what have "healthcare reform" so it's all good..

eat away fattys, and get some more preventable diseases.

Posted by: ObamaisFraud | March 24, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't live in DC anymore, however we I come home to family makes a B~line for Ben's Chili Bowl. This is the best place to eat the greasy, fatting food....the chili fries and burgers are awesome along with the vanilla mike shakes.....I LOVE IT!

Posted by: Alicia691 | March 24, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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