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Posted at 2:04 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Ben's Chili Bowl donates photographs, artifacts to GWU

By Elizabeth Flock
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Polaroid pictures from 1991 show the redevelopment of U Street NW in front of Ben's Chili Bowl. (Jahi Chikwendiu - Washington Post)

Even late-night revelers who know Ben's Chili Bowl only through a Long Island-induced haze know the place has got history. It's a Washington institution not just for its achingly-good chili and half-smokes but also its slew of customers that once included jazz greats and later celebs and politicians.

Now, the Ali family, who opened the U Street restaurant in 1958, is donating papers, photographs and artifacts to George Washington University, Style reporter Jacqueline Trescott reported Tuesday.

Among the objects soon to find a new home at GWU's Africana Research Center are an old stained menu and a calendar Ben Ali had printed up as a tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. after his assassination. We can't help but hope Ben's cheese fries will be preserved just as well for posterity.

By Elizabeth Flock  | February 15, 2011; 2:04 PM ET
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