In Praise of the Ben’s Chili Bowl Half-Smoke

I must admit that I was among those uninformed who just didn’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong. When it was first announced that the new Nationals Park would feature Ben’s Chili Bowl among the restaurant concessions, I was pleased. I’d always wanted to pay a visit to the legendary Ben’s, but despite best intentions, had yet to do so.

The crowd in front of Ben’s Chili Bowl at Nationals Park on opening night.

Plus, I figured anything we could call our own and help make Nationals Park a uniquely DC experience was a good thing.

Then I got my first glimpse of the famous Ben’s half smoke chili dog on opening night, along with the horrific lines at the the Ben’s Chili Bowl stand behind the 3rd base line, and thought this doesn’t look that special, and certainly can’t be worth the wait.

Well, let the record state that I am now officially a convert. I took a group of people
from my office to Nationals Park on a chilly May evening, and from our perch that night in section 418, I indulged in my first Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke (all the way, of course). Perhaps it was the altitude in the upper right field gallery, but I felt a little closer to heaven.

A Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke “all the way” (with chili, cheese, onions, and mustard) has been a staple of each subsequent visit to Nationals Park.

A word to the wise: If you’re heading the the park an want to indulge yourself, don’t be intimidated by the long lines at the Ben’s Chili Bowl stand. You can get yourself an authentic Ben’s half smoke at ANY “Nats Dogs” stand or cart throughout the stadium.

Extra napkins recommended.

Photos by flickr users Scott Ableman and stvmasters

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6 Responses

  1. It is definitely the best food at Nationals Park. And kudos to the team for getting them into every hot dog stand, even near my seat in the upper deck.

  2. The local/regional food choices are probably the ballpark’s biggest success to date. I graded the whole ballpark today on my blog.

    /shameless plug

  3. I cannot tell you how much i love the Presidents’ Race. Thanks for writing this, and completely making my week

  4. Next best dog/sausage item is the Cajun corndog from Cantina Marina. It’s a good corndog for what it’s worth, but those spices take it to a whooole new level.

  5. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  6. Sign: zdbrw Hello!!! askwm and 6133ptbgmdqmzm and 5752 : Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post! nice! I just came across your blog and wanted to say that Ive really enjoyed it.

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