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Ben Ali, the patriarch of U Street institution Ben’s Chili Bowl, passed away last night at around 9:00 pm. A family member said that Ali “passed peacefully,” noting that he’d had “health issues off and on.” Ali had just recently returned for a cruise with his wife, Virginia—-the two were approaching their 51st wedding anniversary.
“He lived a full life and put a lot into the business,” said a family member. Asked whether Ben’s will close at any point in observance of the passing of its founder, the family member said a decision on that matter hadn’t yet been made.