Ben's Chili Bowl (1213 U St. NW), part of D.C.'s historic U Street corridor and a D.C. landmark, will celebrate its 55th anniversary tomorrow. This is kind of like a big deal, and the Washington Post reports that Bill Cosby will be on hand to speak at the event, which only ups the ante. The Philly native is arguably Ben's most famous regular, as he used to frequent it when he was stationed in the D.C. suburb of Bethesda, Md. while serving in the Navy back in the late '50s. He would also take future wife, Camille, to Ben's when they were dating and eventually proposed to her there.
Cosby's voice can be heard when customers call the famous restaurant and he was the only person allowed to eat for free at Ben's before the Obama family was blessed with that privilege. Owner Ben Ali's son, Nizam, told DCist that Mayor Vincent Gray (fresh off an appearance at Trillectro) will also speak along with other politicians.
The festivities begin at 10 a.m. and a party will happen right next to the restaurant in Ben Ali Way from noon until 4 p.m. Ali passed away in Oct. 2009 at the age of 82; he would've proud to know that people remain eager to show overwhelming support for his restaurant.
Half-smokes will definitely be devoured in celebration tomorrow. Leave the Cosby sweaters at home, though—it's still too warm for that.