Ben’s Chili Bowl is basically one giant ode to meat. It smells like meat. Meat on the grill is the first thing you see when you walk on the door. Hell, it’s the home of the half-smoke. So it might seem a little strange that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—whose motto contains the phrase “animals are not ours to eat”—decided to recognize the shop’s new airport location for its “Best of Reagan Award.” The new accolade honors Ben’s for offering things like vegetarian chili, dogs, and burgers…but really?
Really. PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt explains that the organization wants to give cred to restaurants that make an effort to be partially meat-free, not just all-vegetarian joints.
So why of all the restaurants in the city, many of which have far more vegetarian offerings, did this meat palace win the award? “This award deals specifically with the best of Reagan Washington Airport, and so we’re recognizing Ben’s Chili Bowl because they just opened this brand new spot last week,” Rajt says. “Of course, there are other vegetarian and vegan options in the airport, but Ben’s is really taking it up a notch.”
Rajt says she personally is also a fan of Ben’s. “It is definitely a favorite and a place I make sure to take all my family and friends when they visit the District.”
This is not the first time PETA has bestowed its approval upon a meat-centric restaurant. Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan got a nod for its vegan wings as part of PETA’s round-up of the top 10 vegan wings in the country.
Photo courtesy PETA