Ben’s Chili Bowl on H Street reopening with takeout and delivery

Saints of half-smokes be praised: The H Street location for the legendary Ben’s Chili Bowl is reopening with takeout and delivery during the pandemic.

The famous food palace’s Memorial Day weekend hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Monday. After that, it’ll be open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ben’s will offer online ordering, curbside pickup and delivery from its H Street location, which had been closed as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The U Street location has remained open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily for delivery and curbside pickup.

If you order online, do so right from Ben’s.

Delivery apps like GrubHub and Uber Eats jack up their commissions to around 30%, which has caused outcry from local restaurants and even led the D.C. Council to eye legislation that would cap the apps’ take at 15%.

“Restaurants are trying to eke out some income, and are finding that where third party delivery is involved, that all of the restaurants profit is being eaten up by the commission,” Chairman Phil Mendelson said.

“Nothing against the services, but the delivery services are making matters no better and, arguably, worse for these restaurants, when our intent is to try to make it a little bit better for the restaurants.”

As for Ben’s, the landmark has been fighting and adapting through the pandemic.

“In the past, whenever there was a disaster or need, Ben’s was always a place they turned to for support or making sure that people were taken care of and fed,” Vida Ali told WTOP.

“In continuing in that spirit, which we have for 60 years, we have been donating lunches for the heroes … through the hospitals and the police and EMTs, and also giving back to the community.”

Ben’s Chili Bowl has been a D.C. staple since 1958. It has survived dark times, such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1968 riots.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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