Ben’s Chili Bowl, Chinatown Garden among recipients of grant program for historic restaurants

Two landmark restaurants in D.C. will receive thousands in grant money as part of an effort to protect culturally significant, minority-owned businesses across America.

Ben’s Chili Bowl — with locations on U Street NW, H Street NE and in Nationals Park — and Chinatown Garden, located in Chinatown, have been selected to receive $40,000 in grants courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express.

The funds are meant to help the restaurants enhance their exterior spaces and outdoor seating, as well as upgrade their online business presences.

“Historic small restaurants are cultural treasures that strengthen their communities and carry their legacies and traditions forward in deeply meaningful ways,” said Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust. “These restaurants have demonstrated their resiliency for decades, and even while dealing with the financial impacts of the pandemic, they have continued to support their communities in many ways.”

In total, 25 restaurants across the country were selected to receive grants. A “chef advisory committee” was assembled to help select the recipients.

In addition to the grants, some of American Express’ business partners are offering their support to the chosen restaurants.

AT&T and Dell are offering $5,000 to the recipients for upgrades to their technology systems, Ripl will offer one year of managing restaurants’ social media accounts and Nextdoor is providing free promotion directly into the restaurants’ communities.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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