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Photos: Ben’s Chili Bowl Opens at DCA

(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) Ben’s Chili Bowl opened its second Arlington location at Reagan National Airport this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

In the pre-security section of B/C terminal of the airport, a crowd gathered to hear the Chuck Brown Band, listen to speakers and watch the Ali family, which owns Ben’s, cut the ribbon on the new restaurant. The Ben’s Chili Bowl location in Rosslyn opened in March as the first standalone, brick-and-mortar Ben’s to open since the original in 1958.

“We have a lot of visitors to our original U Street location that come from all over the country, so now people who don’t have time can stop here on their way in or out of the city,” Virginia Ali, the widow of Ben’s founder Ben Ali, said. “It’s a very attractive location.”

Ben’s historian and former Marion Barry aid Bernard Demczuk was the MC of the opening, and handed out pamphlets detailing a history of Ben’s as well as instructions on how to “properly eat a Ben’s Chili Bowl Classic chili dog.” He spoke about the late “Godfather of Go-Go” Chuck Brown — who was a famous Ben’s customer along with Bill Cosby and President Barack Obama — before introducing the band.

He also remarked on Reagan’s number of annual visitors; according to the airport, more than 20 million passengers flew in and out of the airport last year.

“That’s pretty good traffic for Ben’s Chili Bowl,” Demczuk said.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board Member Warner Session spoke briefly after the band played its first set of songs. He said that MWAA is elated to have a Ben’s airport location.

“I live in the neighborhood and as you can see I’ve probably eaten one chili dog too many,” Session joked.

Kamal Ali was the last to speak before he and his family cut the ceremonial ribbon. Ali thanked the airport and the ceremony’s event planners, and also mentioned his late father.

“I know dad is looking down on us,” he said.

The band continued to play while Ben’s employees served their first customers, and those waiting in line to get their half-smokes and fries danced and clapped along. The band also promoted its new single and album “Beautiful Life,”  which was released today.

Inside Ben’s, two flat-screen monitors played a slideshow of the Ali’s family pictures, pictures from other Ben’s locations and footage of the U street location’s appearance on the Travel Channel show “Man Versus Food.”

“They are going to do very well here, trust me,” one woman waiting in line said. “There’s going to be a line forever.”

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_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

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The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

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