Ben's Chili Bowl celebrating 60th anniversary

- A D.C. landmark is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Known for its chili dogs and half-smokes, Ben’s Chili Bowl first opened its door on August 22, 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali.

Since then, Ben’s Chili Bowl has been one of the most recognizable staples in the U Street corridor of the nation’s capital. The restaurant has been featured in local and national publications, television shows and even films while also receiving visits from dignitaries and celebrities from all over the world.

On Wednesday, U Street between 11th and 13th streets will be shut down as a large block party will be held to celebrate the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Later in the day, a tribute to Virginia Ali will be held during the Ben’s Chili Bowl 60th Anniversary Celebration Gala at the Lincoln Theater at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $60 to $150 and all of the proceeds will benefit the Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation. Faith Evans, Kenny Lattimore, Maysa, Rayshun LaMarr, BSlade, Ayanna Gregory and Sirius Co. are some of the artists expected to appear at the event.

“Who hasn't come through Ben's Chili Bowl? If you're from Washington D.C. like myself or you have been through or have done at least a thorough tourist run, you’re going to know Ben's Chili Bowl has been a staple,” said R&B singer Kenny Lattimore. "It has served the community for years. I remember different artists coming through. Everybody knows President Obama has come through here before.”

“Yet, in spite of all the world recognition and fame, local residents of DC, Maryland and Virginia know the real truth about Ben’s Chili Bowl, and that truth is simple,” Ben’s Chili Bowl said in a news release. “They know that Ben’s is first and foremost about FAMILY and COMMUNITY.  For 60 years, Ben’s has graciously served the people, and every guest has always been embraced as family. When segregation was still alive, Ben’s offered a peaceful gathering place and safe haven for ALL people, regardless of any differences in background or perspective. Society has grown and changed, but Ben’s remains the same and continues to celebrate people from all walks of life as they come together to eat, laugh, and discuss life as they see it. On Wednesday, August 22nd, please join everyone at Ben’s Chili Bowl as we celebrate 60 years of just being ourselves and doing what we do.”

D.C. police say there will be several street closures during the anniversary events held on Wednesday:

Between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., the following partial road closure will take place to prepare for set-up:

- The westbound lanes of U Street, NW, between 11th and 13th Streets, NW

Between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., the following complete road closure will take place for the event and the subsequent breakdown and clean-up:

- U Street, NW, between 11th and 13th Streets, NW

The following streets will be posted as Emergency No Parking from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm:

- U Street, NW, between 11th and 13th Streets, NW

All street closures and listed times are subject to change based upon prevailing or unexpected conditions.

The public should expect parking restrictions along the route and should be guided by the posted emergency no parking signage. All vehicles that are parked along the route and in violation of the emergency no parking signs will be ticketed and towed.

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