Young and Hungry

Watch Out, Ben’s! Half-Smoke Vet To Open His Own Chili Bowl

Anthony Ulysses Holmon, a former employee of D.C.'s venerable Ben's Chili Bowl, is opening his own half-smoke hotspot called D.C. Chili Bowl. Holmon says he'll be serving kosher hotdogs—an apparent affront to Ben's brass, which he describes as hostile to change. The existing 54-year-old half-smoke emporium serves only non-kosher franks. "I believe the Hebrew hot dog is a better tasting beef dog, plus it's a kosher product," Holmon tells WTOP. "You want to offer the product to everybody, all nationalities. That will add another layer of customers." Holmon is looking to open his own shop along trendy H Street NE—the same neighborhood where his former employer is planning to open its own half-smoke outpost.

Photo by bionicgrrrl/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

  • Dave R.

    If my understanding is correct, the kosher thing is only going to last as long as he keeps dairy out of the picture. That could mean no cheese whiz if you count it as dairy instead of an oil.

    Also, there is no mention on if he will offer veggie friendly options like Ben's does, which would be necessary to accomplish his mission of serving "everybody, all nationalities".

  • Jamnew

    There is room enough for 2 chili dog places in DC. This is how most businesses start. An employee learns the trade and opens his own establishment with some changes. This is normal business.

  • Monica

    Would like to hear from Mr. Holman. Would love to introduce DC Redbone Hot Sauce (DC's VERY OWN Hot Sauce) into his new establishment. Contact me!

  • Ben

    Awesome - competition is good. But I think, for his own sake, Mr. Holman should pick a more unique name for his place.

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  • http://comingsoon Anthony Ulysses Holmon

    First I would like to thank those who support my Idea as well as those who oppose my idea. I worked for Bens for almost 4 years in some capacity. To be fair and honest I gave Bens 200%. In 6 months of employment I had less than 10 days off. I am a committed as well as dedicated worker. I was told by the brothers to take two weeks off, with a family to take care of what does take two weeks off mean to you. Not only that I was called dumb and sent home by one of the owners over a plastic spoon two weeks before I was told to take two weeks off. I can go into detail about Bens Chili Bowl and how they do business but thats not what I am promoting. All I have to say is because some one is 50 years old does not mean that they make good decisions.

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  • Antonio

    I commend Anthony for going out on his own. The fact that you got off your butt to create a business plan is commendable. There will always be a negative/positive to what you do, but that fact is you want to do and are simply creating another eating option for people. Nothing wrong about that. The "all nationalities/everyone" thing is complete nonsense, people choose to eat what the want, whether or not the believe in fictional religion, eating unhealthy in moderation, or just eating anything. Anthony is just creating another option.

  • Ms. Parris

    I love love love the idea Anthony, Ben's is old school and doesn't listen to any new ideas this generation has to offer... I think DC Chili bowl is a great name ..... so forget who has to say what... they feed off the fact that they have been here for so many years but the service SUCKs... half the staff don't wear gloves, which is just plan old nasty... they serve veggie and pork dog off the same grill... I to can go on and on about Ben's but it won't be positive.... I support this new spot and I am most def looking for to it.... U go bwoi

  • Mrs. Attitude

    Ben's play off the fact the celebrities have come threw there in the past.... its done washed up and needs to go... the service sucks...and no one wears gloves... I've worked there for less than a moth and tried to share some ideas that the night shift sup just didn't want to hear... when I first walked thru the door I honestly thought it was an Ethiopian joint...but come to find out it was owned by some Trini's ..... I. Look fw to a new spot because Bens would NEVER EVER EVER get a red dime out of me or anyone in my circle if I have anytyhing to do with it..... BENS UR DAYS R OVER... fully welcomes DC Chili bowl.... and what????

  • Concerned

    I myself, and everyone who I've taken to Ben's for the historic purpose, have all said the same thing: Service is bad, half smokes overpriced for a mere sausage, AND the chili tastes like canned dog food! No less than 4 employees walk past you, ignore you, and when one does finally get a staff person's attention - they dont take food orders; the BLT has hard crumbly bacon that just fallls to pieces, AND upon trying to leave - AGAIN, one must practicaly beg to pay, as again its hard to find a person to take your money; the 40 years at same location and still in business is the ONLY noteworthy attribute as everything else: the service, quality of food, price of food is horrendus!
    So go for It! BUT PLZZZ, remember that chili should not be canned or canned taste and pounce on the customers as soon as they enter the door - those basics will get your far!