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If you ever doubted the fame of Ben Ali and the tiny chili stand he started in 1958, all you have to do is look at the news coverage detailing his death yesterday. News outlets across the country either ran the AP story or wrote short, tribute-oriented pieces of their own.
Here are a few of them:
- The New York Times‘ Diners Journal: “There is perhaps no better way to end a punk-rock evening in Washington, D.C., than with a brisk walk up from the 9:30 Club to the bright lights of Ben’s Chili Bowl, home of the chili-laden half-smoke sausage, for a snack.”
- DCist has a round-up of local politico comments: “Ben Ali was a man who invested his life in a small business that weathered many storms and became the soul of a neighborhood and the pride of our city,” commented Mayor Adrian Fenty.
- Loose Lips recalls Ben’s long history with politicians: “But for all the politicking going on inside, the restaurant itself has never been a political establishment.”
- The Post offers up historical pictures, reader memories, and a new video: “We’ll miss you, Ben Ali. The man who 51 years ago put chili on a hot dog [and] gave Washington a food identify that stuck.”
- Grub Street New York: “Here’s hoping a memorial sprouts up at Ben Ali Way, the alley next to Ben’s where pretty much everyone in the world was lined up during Inauguration Day.”
- DC Metblog: “Its casual atmosphere and unforgettable chili half-smokes have been a favorite of visiting entertainers, DC luminaries, and everyone else in the city for more than fifty years.”