President Obama stopped here for a Chilli Half Smoke. Bill Cosby is a long time patron. Celebrities flock to sample its world famous chilli dogs and milk shakes and it has featured in more films than you’ve had hot dogs. Founders Ben and Virginia Ali have even been given the keys to the city. Ben’s Chilli Bowl is far more than just a restaurant – it’s a local and national institution. Housed in an old silent picture house, Ben’s was founded back in 1958 when Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Martin Luther King frequented it and, if there’s one place that’s a must to visit when in D.C., Ben’s Chilli Bowl is it.