The Politics of Ben’s Chili Bowl

A brief history of politicians going to the D.C. eatery midday to score political points.

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Lucia Graves
Nov. 13, 2013, 11:54 a.m.

Earli­er this week, Bus­boys and Po­ets own­er Andy Shal­lal kicked off his cam­paign to be D.C.’s next may­or at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

For the un­ini­ti­ated: Bus Boys and Po­ets reg­u­larly hosts au­thor read­ings and com­munity events; Ben’s Chili Bowl is where people go at 1 a.m., usu­ally after sev­er­al hours of drink­ing on U Street. Sure the ven­ue, which is loc­ated in the Shaw neigh­bor­hood of north­w­est Wash­ing­ton, has be­come a sym­bol of the neigh­bor­hood’s his­tory since its found­ing in 1958. We get why politi­cians want to cap­it­al­ize on that. But someone needs to tell these guys they’re do­ing it wrong.

A list of of­fend­ers:

President Obama and then-D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. (Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images) National Journal
U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) National Journal
President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. (France, we expected better!) (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images) National Journal
DC Mayor Vince Gray (of all people!) doing Ben's Chili Bowl wrong. (Getty Images) National Journal
This here is President Obama doing it wrong. You might even say peak wrongness has been achieved. (Getty Images) National Journal
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