Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising?

Double Chili Cheeseburger
2010/04/21 09:00:27
Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 09:01:45
It can't hurt the quality of the food.
Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 09:50:04
I don't think it helped Five Guys' image when they franchised. I don't see franchising Ben's as a good thing. How do you replicate the history of U St?

Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 10:05:04

I don't think it helped Five Guys' image when they franchised. I don't see franchising Ben's as a good thing. How do you replicate the history of U St?


Frankly, I find that the history is the only reason to visit Ben's these days, and aside from Ben's is there much history left to U St? 
Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 10:51:50
Look up Tourist Trap in Webster's Dictionary, Should be a picture of Ben's there...nuff said
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 11:37:07

I don't think it helped Five Guys' image when they franchised. I don't see franchising Ben's as a good thing. How do you replicate the history of U St?


I don't think it hurt their bank account either.

Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 12:38:27
Disagree with some posts above. U Street is full of Jazz clubs and multi-cultural eateries and shops.

Prior to the 60s fires and such, U Street was a major jazz center even before NY -with Duke Ellington and a host of others (many of whom ended up in NY, Chicago, New Orleans later on). Several jazz spots have re-opened. In addition, new venues for other new music have opened - nothing could be closer to bringing back U St. history than that.

U Street also has a history of multi-culturism which has returned - which shows in the music offerings and the varied dining and shopping opportunities.

I think U Street is returning to its roots more than ever, instead of the run-down slum it had once turned into - there's little history to celebrate in that.

Ben's is no tourist trap. It has seemed that way recently thanks to Obamas and other noted dignitaries highly visible trips to Ben's. But, typically, there's a host of regulars and once the high tourism goes by, it won't have such a touristy vibe as it has had this Cherry Blossom and Springtime tourbus season. not too mention that breakfast is typically still the usual suspects since tourists go there for half-smokes and burgers and not eggs and grits.

Frankly, considering the Ali's have stood the test of time they've earned their recent attention. And the place itself is the real McCoy (not some recently installed figment of history). They deserve the attention and fortune they're getting. hopefully, they'll take it in stride and not ruin the thing that made them successful.

DC is a tourist's city. And DC has recently gotten much media attention on it's non-National Mall offerings. I've seen tour buses take tourists down streets that even a couple years ago they wouldn't have. Tourists often return to eat in those places or further explore those neighborhoods. I've seen tourists visit areas of the city that were once violent places because the area isn't violent anymore and there are historical markers, statues, homes and gravesites.  And suddenly, what was "local" becomes touristy.

Sure, Ben's is probably selling more t-shirts and mugs than ever before, but so what?  I know several local eatablisments that sells t-shirts, too. It's not like Ben's started selling them just recently.

Here's a place in Ben's that locals have been saying for years should get more attention - now they're getting more attention and now they're a "tourist trap?" 

Sorry, I've been there, I go there, I'm no tourist, I think it's preposterous to say so...nuff said.


Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 13:32:53
Prior to the riots U St was not multi-cultural; it was one of the nation’s cultural and intellectual centers of the Black community.  The riots sadly destroyed the cultural and intellectual nature of the corridor, but it was not until it was regentrified that it became multicultural.  There was a time when the Howard and Lincoln were putting on shows that were the equal of what you could find on Broadway, now the Howard is boarded-up and the Lincoln has practically been relegated to a special events venue.  I love U St, but a few jazz clubs and great Ethiopian restaurants are not the same as it returning to what it once was.
I have been to Ben’s countless times (I have a coworker that insists on going when it is his choice for lunch), I just don’t think that the food has ever lived up to its reputation for being special food.  Case in point, the cheese sauce that they use is right from a can.  Ben’s is one of those places that I really wish that I could love, but I have a hard time even liking it much.
Filet Mignon
Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 14:37:13
Our family loves going to Ben's for lunch when we are in DC.  The half smokes are just terrific and  it is a DC treasure.  Franchising 
will  certainly make it much different.  If they do this, the same will happen as to all other  really neat places that have decided to franchise.......
Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/21 15:09:49
special food?
It was and is a greasy spoon, - they call themselves that, and it's know for it's breakfast and half-smokes, and chili. And, you can choose either the cheese whiz or the shreded cheddar.

Vaudville is gone. What has come back to Lincoln Theatre is special events, including professional concerts, variety acts, comedy and for a short time, before they folded, the Washington Symphony was housed there. No, it's not Broadway, but the National Theatre is more serving that purpose. Still, the use of the space as a performing arts venue is alive.

The Howard Theatre is currently under renovation. It will eventually open. It's being run by a non-profit organization, so money is tight. but it is under renovation and was featured recently on television. The outside doesn't look like much, but the work on the inside is coming along.

And smaller jazz clubs were very much part of its history - and several are open. Not too mention that the area has been home to the 9:30 Club and several other music venues for years, so a diverse musical scene is nothing new to U St.

And, it did indeed become historically black in the 20th c., but during the Victoria age when those homes were built it was predominantly white and middle class. So, the idea that this racial diversity on U St is new, is dead wrong. At the turn of the century is was a mix, then changed to a predominantly black community as DC became segregated.

But, no, it won't be Black Broadway, but Broadway isn't Broadway anymore - but U St is becoming a hub of culture - which it was before - from music, to dining, to shopping and even fine arts - several notable DC artists (painters, sculpters, etc) live in Mid-City.  Their art hangs in some of the local restaurants, filling their walls.

U St/ MidCity is becoming exactly what it should be - a place of residence for the citizens of DC and a cultural hub representing the city's inhabitants - with one foot in the past, but the body in the present while facing its future and the other foot stepping there.

Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/04/22 12:41:38
Sorry, but when some company in Pennsylvania is making Ben's Chili for them, And I've recently had it, it spells the end to a fairly good place's reputation, although I know they will continue to thrive regardless...Been there twice in the last year, both times food was very forgetable...I'm from DC, my many friends there can't stand the place. JMHO!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Ben's Chili Bowl Franchising? 2010/05/02 22:18:46
Chili made in PA! OMG!!! I wonder if Ben is rolling in his grave?