Posts Tagged ‘Nizam Ali’

Can Ben’s Chili Bowl Expand and Keep Its Soul?

By 3:30 p.m. the day after Ben’s Chili Bowl opened its new location in Rosslyn last week, the line still stretched to the very back of the restaurant. It’d been that way, if not curving down the sidewalk, since 11 a.m., said co-owner Nizam Ali, when a crowd was already waiting for the doors to [...]

Mystery Solved: President Sarkozy and First Lady Bruni Split a Half-Smoke

Because I know this has been keeping you up at night — at least last night — Y&H has been tirelessly digging to find out what exactly French president Nicolas Sarkozy and first lady Carla Bruni ate during their visit yesterday to Ben's Chili Bowl. The accounts yesterday conflicted wildly. I have twice tried to talk [...]

Tell the World You Eat Like the President

Y&H isn't sure why it took Ben's Chili Bowl more than a year to capitalize on Barack Obama's visit to the landmark eatery. Maybe brothers Kamal and Nizam Ali wanted to wait long enough so people forgot that, technically, Obama was only the president-elect when he dropped by in early January '09. Obama wouldn't be sworn [...]

Bill Cosby Still Sweet on the Half-Smoke at Age 72

At 72, Bill Cosby might be at an age when his doctor looks the comedian dead in the eye and says, "Bill, I'm telling you, if you want to see 73, lay off the half-smokes." Well, if Cos has ever heard those words, he's not heeding them. Nizam Ali, youngest son of founders Virginia and the late [...]

Say Hello to the Inaugural Class of the D.C. Dish Hall of Fame

Yesterday, readers of the Young & Hungry newsletter (hint, hint: sign up at right) got first word on who won the D.C. Dish Hall of Fame. Today, we tell everyone the results of our debut contest, which we launched back in October with the idea of sussing out the dishes that best define the D.C. metro area. [...]

Have a Special Memory of Ben’s? Share It at Ben Ali’s Memorial.

All three of Ben Ali's sons plan to speak at the memorial service set for Friday at the Lincoln Theatre, right next door to the greasy spoon he made famous.  Mayor Adrian Fenty may speak, too, but as of this afternoon, no other people, famous or otherwise, are scheduled to honor the founder of Ben's [...]

R.I.P. Ben Ali: A Look Back at What You Created

Y&H wishes he knew who produced this segment on Ben's Chili Bowl. It captures some nice moments, like this one from Nizam Ali, son of founder Ben, who died yesterday at 82. Nizam Ali talks about the struggle to maintain U Street's African-American identity in the face of gentrification: "It's a duty to be here," he says. [...]

Despite Founder’s Death, It Was Business As Usual at Ben’s

No one but the employees knew about Ben Ali's death. The managers of Ben's Chili Bowl had told their employees this morning that Ben Ali died in his bed last night, but they didn't want their customers in the restaurant to know yet. So there was nary a clue at the landmark U Street eatery. [...]

Ben Ali’s Son: “We’re All OK.”

Tim Carman is on his way down to Ben's. He called in to report a conversation he had with Nizam Ali, the late Ben Ali's son. The family is starting to gather together, Nizam tells Carman. Ben, he says, was at GW Hospital for about a week. He had congestive heart failure. GW Hospital, he [...]

If Not Expansion Plans, What Is Ben’s Next Move? Think Shipping.

As Y&H was discussing last week, the Ali family has no plans to open a Ben's Chili Bowl on the ground floor of the Grays on Pennsylvania, a planned condo development in the Southeast, despite a sign that implies otherwise. That's the family's prerogative, of course, but it makes you wonder: What is the future [...]

...