A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Official, We're Getting a Ben's Chili Bowl


It's not news that the family behind Ben's Chili Bowl purchased 1001 H Street (formerly George's Place). After the family purchased the property, they were mum on its exact future, saying they wanted to do some research before deciding whether it would become a chili bowl, or something entirely different. Now the cat is out of the bag. It became very clear at a public meeting last night that the first floor will become a Ben's Chili Bowl.

Margaret Holwill, who live tweeted portions of the meeting, further reports that the upstairs will feature and open kitchen, and a bar (alcohol served upstairs only). But apparently, the grub upstairs will not be what you can get at Ben's Next Door.


Anonymous tonysmallframe said...

Whatever happened to the ANC being against fast food? They fought and protested against 7-11 across the street, and then welcome Ben's with open arms when it is the same type of food/place? I'm not saying that we should or shouldn't have one or either, but lets try and be a little consistent. And, i'm still sad that there isn't a Cluck U.

Apr 19, 2012, 9:44:00 AM

Anonymous ro said...

Yep. It's a vicious double standard isn't it? I'm glad that fast food places like Taylor, Shawafel and now Ben's are on H, but it's a shame how other places with the same business model were sent packing for no real reason

Apr 19, 2012, 10:01:00 AM

Blogger Jordan said...

I might be wrong here, but I think "fast food" establishments were defined by NOT having tables and seating inside the establishment. 7-11 doesnt have tables, seats or servers. Bens Chili Bowl, Taylor, Shawafel etc all do which qualify them as restaurants.

By the way, I am ecstatic that Bens is opening up here on H! H Street is fo reeeaaaal.

Apr 19, 2012, 10:07:00 AM

Blogger Tom A. said...

tony this is more like Khans. you order your food, watch someone cook it, and then go eat it. this is nothing like a convenient store that has take out and you know it! 711 is not even allowed to let you sit and eat the food they sell you.

Ro, which businesses were sent packing? H street still has carry out pizza, bbq, chinese food, chicken, fish. Etc.

Apr 19, 2012, 10:07:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This will be on PoP in 4,3,2,1....

Apr 19, 2012, 10:11:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the "bone of contention" with the 7-11 was not necessarily that they were serving fast food, it was that they refused to be licensed as a fast food joint. I would bet Ben's will be licensed as a restaurant and take on all of those responsibilities. The 7-11 claims to be a grocery store, but really they make their money on food and skirt food-related responsibilities that others must follow.

Apr 19, 2012, 10:14:00 AM

Anonymous JJ said...

Dang, stuff just got really real up in here...:)

There goes the summer diet...

Apr 19, 2012, 10:25:00 AM

Anonymous H Vegas said...

I think when every single travel show to come to DC...ever...features Ben's Chili Bowl, it may transcend to a level higher than can simply be classified as "fast food".

Apr 19, 2012, 10:46:00 AM

Anonymous Hondo said...

Am I the only who thinks Ben's is mediocre at best?

Apr 19, 2012, 10:54:00 AM

Anonymous H Vegas said...


No. But I still couldn't be happier they are coming to H.

Apr 19, 2012, 10:58:00 AM

Anonymous grr said...

i 2nd that, h vegas

Apr 19, 2012, 11:01:00 AM

Blogger V+ said...

Great thoughts; here's another way to look at this.

Ben's Chili Bowl is part of the fabric of DC's history and culture.

Their decision to set up shop in our neighborhood is a great endorsement H Street, sends a message that the revitalization is the real deal.

Apr 19, 2012, 11:47:00 AM

Anonymous MJ said...

The ANC wasn't against "fast food", they were against fast food establishments that were crappy and were taking over H. I'm not sure how to best explain the difference between Ben's Chili Bowl and 7-11, or Good Dannys vs. Shwalafel, because to me it's pretty self-evident. I find more trash on the street from all the bulletproof glass enclosed low-grade takeouts in a week than I've found from Taylor & Shwalafel combined since they've opened.

I like Cluck-U but from what I remember they tried to skirt around the moratorium, which was not viewed kindly by the ANC. Not following the rules from the get go was a bad omen.

Apr 19, 2012, 11:56:00 AM

Anonymous H Street Landlord said...

@Jordan - you aren't going to protest this place like Po Boys (their ability to have live music and their operating hours) and XClusive?

Apr 19, 2012, 12:09:00 PM

Anonymous Lady Gaga said...

For the love of God, can we finally get some pay toilets now?

Apr 19, 2012, 1:54:00 PM

Anonymous emo said...

The alley beside my house seems to work for everyone

Apr 19, 2012, 2:46:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad that the upstairs won't be like Ben's Next Door!! They have good food, drinks and vibe.

Anyone know what the upstairs will be?

Apr 19, 2012, 2:46:00 PM

Anonymous Dave B said...

Ben's Floor Above?

Apr 19, 2012, 3:12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"@Jordan - you aren't going to protest this place like Po Boys (their ability to have live music and their operating hours) and XClusive?"

i don't get it. why is this the same?

Apr 19, 2012, 4:45:00 PM

Anonymous Hillman said...

Average to below average food. Adequate service as long as you don't do anything out of the ordinary, like ask questions.

Lots of hype.

That sums up Bens Chili Bowl.

Having said that, I'm happy they are coming. It brings a lot of attention and good press and general good vibe.

Apr 19, 2012, 5:34:00 PM

Anonymous Sunny Florida Avenue said...

Ben's breakfast is on point, it will be the best French toast in the 20002. Welcome welcome Chili Bowl!

Apr 19, 2012, 8:03:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

people seem to be very affected by how much others praise or don't like a place. too much hype? who gives a shit what others think? no place is underrated or overrated, a place is just rated whatever you think it is. stop being such a tool to whats popular or what you think others should feel. just be you.

Apr 19, 2012, 10:04:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pass the joint anon 11:04. We care what others think because if good things come to the neighborhood, good things will happen to our investments (our houses). Rising property values. That's all this is. I don't give a shit about half smokes, but a lot of people do. It's about what ben's represents. And this is very good for the neighborhood. And for the record, I think ben's is very overrated, but I'm also hard to please.

Apr 19, 2012, 11:48:00 PM

Anonymous Margaret Holwill @HStreetDC_ said...

The folks from Ben's gave a very nice presentation at the 6a ED&Z meeting last night. Professional. They've really got their act together and it looks like we'll get a nice place on H Street.

The upstairs at 10th and H is smaller than Ben's Next Door and also has an outdoor deck area. They'll have to do something different and have decided not to duplicate the menu. The model they're working from is roughly based on the open kitchen with bar seating like at Estadio on 14th Street. Great place with terrific atmosphere.
The sense I got from the meeting is that everyone who attended was pretty pleased with the concepts they presented.

An open question is breakfast. They'd like to offer it, but are there enough of us who would be there to sit down and eat on weekdays? Saturday and Sunday are probably a go, but they're not so sure about Monday through Friday. Neither am I. What do you think?

Apr 20, 2012, 12:27:00 AM

Blogger charles said...

And speaking of different perspectives, I don't really look at my home primarily as an "investment." It is where I live, so I care about what kind of things happen in the neighborhood.

Apr 20, 2012, 7:27:00 AM

Anonymous apple pie said...

Awesome news!!!!!! Ben's is a DC staple. this is great for H and Ben's. This adds another very established mom & pop business to the strip and will create much needed jobs.

Apr 20, 2012, 7:58:00 AM

Anonymous apple pie said...

@ Charles

I totally agree a home is where you live. Very insightful perspective you have there but I am sure you are familiar with the phrase “A house is the biggest investment of your life". Fact is most people look at a home as an investment and “where they live".

Apr 20, 2012, 8:26:00 AM

Anonymous Margaret Holwill @HStreetDC_ said...

Your home is an investment in an economic sense because you do have a large part of your net worth tied up in it.
However, active participation in your community is also an investment. We all have an interest in our quality of life, and an emotional investment tied to the well-being of the institutions and people that create sustainable neighborhoods. This requires time and sometimes money to support those institutions and people, often beyond what governments are willing to spend. That's why we participate in civic activities such as neighborhood cleanups or volunteer at schools and rec centers. We give to charities through local non-profits, the arts, churches, and other efforts.
All those things improve our neighborhoods and increase the value of our financial investment, but more than that, they improve the quality of our lives, even if we rent.
Civic participation is simply good citizenship. The rewards are far beyond financial.

Apr 20, 2012, 12:27:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben's coming to h street! Good to see historic African American business opening on our block. I only hope it will bring more. This is in many ways a blessing as there has been a lot of developing animosity regarding yuppie white people" opening businesses and moving in ...blah blah

Apr 20, 2012, 1:38:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

not a smoker, thanks. you're property value will be fine, ben's, some other rated place ( under or over), or whatever ain't going to affect it that much. when you sell you'll make a bundle. don't sweat it.

Apr 20, 2012, 4:29:00 PM

Blogger Robby Mann-Thompson said...

I'm happy the space isn't vacant, and I know people really do like Ben's. There will be hype, hotdogs, etc.

Apr 20, 2012, 6:02:00 PM

Anonymous Apple pie said...

@ HstreetDC_

I agree community involvement is key. I wish more people shared your sentiment. So a house is an investment in a financial sense and "where you live" in a community involvement sense. Very insightful. Kinda sounds like what I already said.

Apr 20, 2012, 6:11:00 PM

Blogger Alan Page said...

Great to see one long-time business in DC (George's) passing the baton to another (Ben's), that's pretty cool. Would even be awesome if they kept a variation of the signage (changing the cursive George's to a cursive Ben's). Heck, they could even hang one of George's suits on the wall as decoration. :-)

This is pretty cool news. HR-57, Ben's, a great variety of bars, Giant coming in the 300 block...hopefully the projects in the 600 block will include more daytime ground floor retail, then we're off to the races. I really dig the Daily Rider bike store, too.

Apr 22, 2012, 11:23:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bens chili is pretty nasty. Can't we get like an Outback up in this bitch?

Apr 22, 2012, 3:42:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want a Legal Seafoods, and a T.G.I.F., and some other high-end places. Oh, and a Starbucks.

Apr 23, 2012, 9:50:00 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home