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Jan 12, 2014 10:48 AM

Sign for Ben's Chili Bowl to open in Rays Hell Burger's old spot

Just walked down to Rosslyn today, and passed by the old RHB spot. There's a sign stating Ben's Chili Bowl is opening soon. I didn't walk close enough to see if there was further info about what "soon" means.

I've never been to the original, but I understand much of the appeal is the history and nostalgia associated with the place. Given that, I wonder how successful a transplant version will be? Personally, I can't see myself walking from Courthouse to Rosslyn for chili. (Actually, can't really see myself walking anywhere for chili, as I see it as more of a homemade dish. Maaaaaaybe a half smoke.) It's also not in a great locale for after-hours foot traffic (possibly part of the appeal of the original as well?)

Personally, I'm still despondent about the Song Que news....

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  1. It's in the blog (from back in September, yet)

    They're also coming to National Airport and H Street NE. Chili and half smokes has been berry, berry good to Ben.

    1. The Song Que news is not true according to Eater DC:

      1. The Ali family does not seem to realize, the food is not that great. The appeal of Ben's is the locale not the food. I can't see this or any other place (other than the ballpark) working out for them. My only hope is that they don't sink so much money into this expansion that when it fails they are forced to shutter the original.

        8 Replies
        1. re: DCRat

          I think you're underestimating the appeal of people who want a halfsmoke but don't want to go downtown.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            We will see. I guess I live too close to U st. to judge the lure of a half smoke w/o the stuff on the wall.

              1. re: wineo1957

                The best thing I had at Weenie Beenie was the fried fish. Who knew?

                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  Killer BLT on Wheat too.

                  Of course, the cardiologists handing out their cards as you get your food may suggest a slight lack of healthfulness.

              2. re: monkeyrotica

                I think you're overestimating the appeal of greasy globs of flavorless meat on an equally tasteless slab of meat.

                1. re: nedh

                  Yeah, because nobody ever goes to Five Guys.

            1. Ben's uses water and seasonings to make their Chili, nuff said

              2 Replies
              1. re: drsmoke

                A few years ago on one of those Food Channel 'visit this local place' shows (I don't remember which), they showed them using a can of sysco chili with a bag of dried seasoning added.

                1. re: arglebargle

                  Yeah, it's pretty much the equivalent of opening a jar of Ragu and doctoring it with whatever spices you have handy. Considering the volume of customers they deal with every day, I don't see them artisanally curating their chili with free range locavore ingredients.

              2. I agree that this place will struggle. The chili and half smokes are good, but frankly, not great, especially when sober. It is too far from most of the courthouse/Clarendon nightlife to benefit from the after hours crowd. If I'm going to go out of my way for this stuff I'm going to the original.