We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

It’s been said that the half-smoke is the closest thing the District gets to having a recognizable homegrown food product. The half-smoke, of course, is most associated with Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW, which this week donated its papers and artifacts to George Washington University’s Africana Research Center. (Washington City Paper‘s 2007 cover story on the half-smoke, by Dave Jamieson, is required reading on the subject.)

Now, it seems like D.C. chefs everywhere are climbing on the hot dog bandwagon. And Damaso in Rosslyn is gearing up to host its first-ever charity Half-Smoke Challenge on May 1. Now, the 10 chefs who will be competing aren’t trying to recreate the half-smoke, but “will showcase their interpretation of DC’s iconic local dish,” according to a press release.

Who will be competing?

  • Victor Albisu, BLT Steak
  • Nathan Anda, Red Apron Butchery
  • Danny Bortnick, Firefly
  • John Critchley, Urbana
  • Scott Drewno, The Source by Wolfgang Puck
  • Paul Healey, Domaso
  • Liam LaCivita, Liberty Tavern/Lyon Hall
  • Dennis Marron, Jackson 20/The Grille at Morrison House
  • Peter Smith, PS 7’s
  • Chris Watson, BRABO
  • Ed Witt, 701 Restaurant
  • You can attend this half-smoke spectacle. It’s $20 for admission, which will get you a taste of all 10 dogs. (Tickets are available online at Damaso’s website.)

    File photo by Darrow Montgomery