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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CP: Is H Street In the Running For a Ben's Chili Bowl?

Ben's Chili Bowl by TheGirlsNY
Ben's Chili Bowl, a photo by TheGirlsNY on Flickr.
City Paper's Housing Complex reports that H Street is one of the locations in the running for a Ben's Chili Bowl franchise. No leases have been signed yet, but the owners have been looking.

23 comments:

Big Ben said...

Not sure what I feel about this. My experience with Ben's has been far from stellar. I have never eaten there, however, on multiple occasions when I accompanied my friends it's been dismal experience to the least. Last time the waitress messed up our order. We had no idea so my friends started eating, a minute later another waitress comes over and says, "This isn't your order", picks up all our plates and carries them over to the table across (poor people had no clue that we had already devoured some of their food) and non-chalantly walks away!! Don't recommend this place. She did leave the coke since my friend was already slurping on it and refused to let go.

Anonymous said...

Hey,
I'm a big fan of any type of new food options on H street. But give me a break another fast food is what we dont need.Thanks but no thanks Ben.


5th Street

Dolemite said...

I'm in favor. The food at Tru's new joint is too expensive for our sidewalk pooping hobo consituency. Come on, Ben's!

Anonymous said...

I'm also torn about this. It's a DC institution, to be sure. But isn't it also more about the iconic storefront than the food, which is frankly mediocre at best?

Can we get a place that actually serves healthy food on H Street?

Average sized Ben said...

From an H St. Economic Development standpoint, I think this would be awesome.

Will hopefully be surrounded by daytime retail and more tavern type places ala 14th and U though.

Anonymous said...

h st. seems the obvious choice for a Bens Franchise.

but to those that say it's mediocre, where can i get a better veggie chili cheese fries?

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Ben's on H! Two caveats:

1. Stay away from Cap City Diner. If you hurt their business I will never forgive you.

2. Build out a classic, old time storefront akin to the original on U Street.

That is all.

Chris said...

I always sit at the counter at Bens. So I haven't had waiters/waitresses -- just folks across the counter serving me. But I've never had a bad experience there. Not once.

I don't think of Ben's as fast food. Lowbrow food, definitely. But there is a difference between the two; I don't think of it as fast food any more than I think of the Cap City Diner as fast food.

Anonymous said...

Ben's Chili is terrible. Food is ok, but their service sucks. Big Ben is right. I don't care how famous the place is, if they treat their customers like dirt, they are not welcome here.

hempings said...

FWIW I've had terrific service at Ben's and I love the food.

Anonymous said...

Ben's does provide the youth of DC with jobs...

Annoyingmous said...

Ben's Chili is wonderful. Food is good, and their service is fine. And they don't treat their customers like dirt, so they're welcome here.

Anonymous said...

I think that we should get a really expensive hotdog place like DC 3 in SE. After all if you have to order at the counter and carry your on own food to the table then you wont get crappy service except from yourself.

marybindc said...

I'd love to see Ben's here, and I think it would draw crowds like it does on U St. The empty blue store on the corner of 12th and H seems like an obvious space, or maybe the old Naby's Island across 12th. I'm sure there are many other locations too.

Anonymous said...

Horace and Dickies with buns. No thank you.

Tim said...

Ben's is awesome. We'd be lucky to have it on H. St. I hope they come!

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to hear that they are franchising. There is something to be said for one of a kind restaurants with one location. I was equally as sad when Taylor franchised. These type of places become destinations for the new and old and give neighborhoods a very distinct feel. Sad to see everything going the way of TGIFriday's :-(.

Anonymous said...

Ben's could be a great addition to H Street. Perhaps it will land toward the western end, which the city aims to keep slumlike for the next 20 years by anchoring it with a Giant.

Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed that the Giant at Rhode Island Avenue has decayed? When it first opened, it was a step up from the corpses-in-the-freezer Safeways to its west and south. But I was just in there the other day after emerging from Hechingers, and the Giant did not have Red Oval crackers, nor the little cans of Goya octopus or squid-in-its-ink that I used to get there, and when I mentioned that I had not found those things to the cashier, she had no comment at all.

Rayful Edmond said...

Anon 7:16 said, "the city aims to keep slumlike for the next 20 years by anchoring it with a Giant."

Had you an inkling of experience in real estate development, you would know that having an anchor tenant like Giant will spur economic growth far quicker than that of a ghetto Safeway, budget Aldi, or vacant National Wholesale Liquidators.

Back to the topic, Ben's is more appropriate on the eastern stretch near the congregation of kitschy bars and restaurants.

peanut said...

murderer edmunds,

where in dc have you seen a giant spur growth?
it didn't do much for brentwood. it wasn't much for columbia heights.

yet Safeway was a boon for city vista.

i'm not partial to either really, but i've not seen evidence of what you say.

andrew said...

Couldn't we just get a branch of the Florida Ave Grill on the west end of the street?

There's plenty of room for two diners in our neighborhood! (And, hey. If the guys who run The Diner, Tryst, and OpenCity want to open a place, I'd be all for that as well. They run good restaurants.)

Anonymous said...

I lived in Columbia Heights when the Giant was there but before the DC USA mall moved in. The Giant was the only non-bodega grocery option up there and it was a critical part of the entire redevelopment of Columbia Heights. It was HUGELY important. That said, I didn't like the place and wished that another option would have moved in. Target eventually opened a grocery department, which was not an improvement.

Anonymous said...

any chance of commercial development happening on the north/south streets? it would be nice to have blocks of commercial instead of a main street.