WASHINGTON - A legendary D.C. restaurant is celebrating its 60th anniversary, with a birthday bash and party in honor of its beloved owner.
Ben's Chili Bowl, the iconic D.C. hot spot, known for its chili dogs and half-smokes first opened its door on August 22, 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali.
A huge block party celebration was held on Wednesday, with all walks of life in the Ben's Chili Bowl community.
Some big names such as Rev. Jesse Jackson joined restaurant regulars, D.C. officials and fans from near and far.
The block party celebration featured music from Go-Go bands such as Maysa, Rare Essence, EU featuring Sugarbear and others.
The matriarch of the restaurant, Virginia Ali, was front and center of the festivities. She reflected on the many years Ben's Chili Bowl has been in business and the incredible love and support she and her late husband Ben have seen from celebrities, locals and visitors.
Line cook James, who has worked at Ben's Chili Bowl for over 20 years says he keeps on coming back after all this time for the team and the strong family bond between the staff and the customers. He says they serve Ben's world-famous chili with lots of love put in it.
A tribute to Virginia Ali was also held at the Lincoln Theater Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. All of the proceeds from the event benefitted the Ben's Chili Bowl Foundation.
Faith Evans, Kenny Lattimore, Maysa, Rayshun LaMarr, BSlade, Ayanna Gregory and Sirius Co. were some of the artists expected to appear at the event.
The popular restaurant has been one of the most recognizable staples in the U Street corridor of the nation's capital.
It 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.
"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."