Ben’s Chili Bowl coming to Arlington; late nights in Rosslyn about to get a lot better

September 10, 2013

A line wraps around Ben’s Chili Bowl on Black Friday in 2010. Many places don’t have the courtesy to open on the day after Thanksgiving. Ben’s is always there for you, and now they’re going to be there for you in Rosslyn. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

The half-smoke: It’s not just for U Street anymore. Rebecca Cooper in the Washington Business Journal is reporting that Ben’s Chili Bowl, the 55-year-old landmark of the District, is going to open a second outlet in the Colonial Village Shopping Center on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn early next year. Ben’s had previously announced an expansion to H Street NE in the District, but that site apparently will take more time, while the Rosslyn site will take over where Ray’s Hell Burger used to be.

Nizam Ben Ali, the co-owner of Ben’s, told Cooper that they were originally looking at Clarendon, but it “wasn’t panning out, and this spot was kind of interesting,” he said. “We thought that [Rosslyn] would be an interesting area to go as we try to grow.”

One thing that Rosslyn has which U Street doesn’t is parking. “Sometimes it’s very difficult to get to Ben’s on U Street, with the parking,” Ali said. “As we grow, we want to test out different markets and we hope the love will be there in Arlington as it is on U Street.”

At 1725 Wilson Boulevard, it’ll be about halfway between the Rhodeside Grill and Cafe Asia, in a shopping center built in 1936 which also houses Bean Good coffee, Pho 75 and the Guajillo Grill, with Red Hot and Blue almost across the street. So you’ve got a lot of culinary needs satisfied in that one stretch of Rosslyn, from sushi to chili cheese fries. But will Ben’s stay open until all hours, as the D.C. home base does? Stay tuned.

In the 2009 film "State of Play," Russell Crowe played slovenly police reporter Cal McAffrey and shot a scene at Ben's Chili Bowl. Real slovenly police reporters would only be seen there late at night. Extremely late. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
In the 2009 film “State of Play,” Russell Crowe played slovenly police reporter Cal McAffrey and shot a scene at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Real slovenly police reporters would only be seen there late at night. Extremely late. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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Mark Berman · September 9, 2013