50 Years of Chili Bowl


The really important news of the day, it should be said, has nothing to do with Georgia or Iraq or John McCain’s houses — it’s the fiftieth anniversary of Ben’s Chili Bown, Washington DC landmark and the cornerstone of the U Street corridor. It’s home of the famous chili half-smoke pictured above. Of course any talk of the Ben’s chili half-smoke naturally leads people to ask “what’s a half-smoke?” The simple answer is that it’s a kind of sausage, a regional delicacy of the area. But what kind of sausage is it? That turns out to be a harder question, and one that resulted in one of the finest pieces of journalism I’ve read during my career — Dave Jamieson’s “The Missing Link”