Ben’s Chili Bowl Gets Exhibit

March 4, 2011  |  

(Afro) — There is, perhaps, no name more synonymous with Washington, D.C., than Ben’s Chili Bowl. Known for its half smokes and spicy chili, the 53-year-old restaurant has been a pillar on the U Street corridor since its opening and is now being preserved and celebrated in an exhibit at George Washington University’s Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library.  Located on the seventh floor of the Africana Research Center, the display shows information such as payroll records from the eatery and photos of its famous patrons, including President Barack Obama, Bill Cosby and former District Mayor Adrian Fenty. The archives give visitors a glimpse into the life of the late proprietor and famed restaurateur, Ben Ali and the growing legacy of the Ali family.  Dr. Bernard Demczuk, assistant vice president of the District of Columbia Relation at George Washington University and friend of the Ali family, categorizes the restaurant’s success and its founder’s roots as “the American Dream.”

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