Nice sometimes means nice: Ben’s 50th

So yesterday, after work, I decided to just take the green line home to stop at Ben’s and pay my respects for their 50th anniversary Ben’s Chili Bowl Celebrates Fifty Years With Three Free Events This Week! « Capital Spice.

Granted, it was a beautiful summer night, I’m a bit emotional (even for me), in love, and generally happy and seeing the good in the world.

But the scene there made me teary. A happy teary. Because the scene there was just so nice. Really truly nice. The nice that’s not an insult.

[Photo on flickr by “Jim Darling”Ben’s Chili Bowl 50th Anniversary on Flickr]

Whether it was the rocking music, “We’ve got the funk….” the diverse line streaming down the sunny U street, the cheery smiles, the infamous sign: “Who eats free at Ben’s? Bill Cosby. And NO ONE else,” I was moved. Moved to tears. The man in front of me said “I’ve been here since waaaay back in the day.” I told him I hadn’t been but I love the stories. I love that they survived doing what they do – the simplicity of half smokes and chili – and doing it well for 50 years.

I love that they made it, that they kept on keeping on through the painful days, the ugly days in our history and DC’s history. I love that they love what they do, and have stood for justice and freedom and equality without preaching, without anger or vitriol or indignation (even when they had a right to!).

I love the half smokes and that my friend took me there as a must-see when I first was single in the city, newly divorced, hurting and lost and new to everything again. And Ben’s was home, my new home. And now as I prepare to leave the city in a few months, it is comforting to me to know that things will remain the same. Here’s to you Ben’s – I hope to be there for your 100th!

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  1. Jesse said,

    Wrote on August 24, 2008 @ 12:56 am

    Sounds like a great time was had by all. It’s great when awesome places for food and getting together and having fun last as long as 50 years. I second it – here’s to Ben’s!

    Jesses last post: Free Blinking Lights!!!

  2. Mike Golch said,

    Wrote on August 24, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

    Looks like a place I’d like to visit.

    Mike Golchs last post:

  3. washwords said,

    Wrote on January 17, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    p.s. the sign that used to answer “Who eats free at Ben’s?” with “Bill Cosby. and no one else” now (Jan. 2009) reads “and Barack Obama.” Cheers, Barack. See you there.

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