Ben's Chili Bowl

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 6 reviews )

Serves meat, vegan options available. Local dive making chili and serves hot dog, burger and fries. Has a Boca brand patty, a meatless chili (say no cheese), and a vegan dog. Open Mon-Thu 6:00am-2:00am, Fri 6:00am-4:00am, Sat 7:00am-4:00am, Sun 11:00am-12:00am.

Categories: Lacto, American, Fast food, Take-out, Non-veg

6 Reviews

First Review by vegantouring

Great for large groups - Edit

About 30 of us came whilst on a visit to DC, two of us are vegan and one gluten free, we were well catered for and the vegan and gluten free options were talked through. I had the vegan chilli in a salad bowl, it was very filling (fortunately, as I had been struggling to find vegan options at our other locations throughout the day). The staff were awesome and asked us whether we wanted ‘crackers’ etc. By no means a healthy choice but very delicious and satisfying. It really is a must-visit due to the famous history and amount of celebrity connections.

Pros: Caters for mix of needs, Caters for mix of needs, Caters for mix of needs

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Vegheads won't miss out on the hype - Edit

Veggie dogs are NOT vegan, but the veg-chili is. It's nice you won't miss out on the hype of Ben's chili...

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DC landmark - Edit

Ben's is famous for its chili, halfsmokes, and its history.
It's located in the center of an historic DC neighborhood that is now full of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and performance venues.
The vegetarian hotdogs and chili were only fairly recent additions, and they are not showstoppers. However, it's worth at least one visit if you are visiting Washington.
Soak up the history, look at all the photos around inside, and if you're lucky their 'resident historian' will be hanging out, ready to answer questions.
It's better to go early if you want to take time here - Ben's is open late, so it's a popular place for post-show munchies.

Pros: History, Location, Price

Cons: Busy, No parking, Narrow choices

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sketchy - Edit

I ate here at the whim of drunk companions late at night, as I heard they had vegan options. Despite the drunken haze, my veggie dogs tasted pretty not vegan. As other reviewers have commented, there have been some arguments over whether or not their products are vegan or not. Ultimately, I think I'm all set.

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DC tourist attraction, not vegan food destination - Edit

If you're considering going here, I'm assuming it's because you're going with someone who wants to visit the famous Ben's Chili Bowl. It's been in movies! Celebrities go here! In that case, go here. You can eat vegan here, but you're not going for food. Per information provided on their site, their vegetarian chili is vegan and their veggie burgers are vegan: I've eaten here, and it was fine, and now I never need to go ever again. I think the veggie burger was a boca burger, and I can get those at the grocery store.

If you're more interested in eating delicious food, you have better options nearby that are still locally DC. Busboys and Poets is one example. The DC area has a large Ethiopian community with some great Ethiopian food options in the U Street neighborhood, and pretty much any Ethiopian place will have a vegan-friendly veggie platter. Really, I'm often surprised to see what vegan-friendly option makes it to Happy Cow while other, much better vegan-friendly options aren't submitted.

Stray observations: It's pretty weird that they still haven't removed their Bill Cosby mural. And it can get pretty crowded, and there's often a long line.
Updated from previous review on Wednesday December 23, 2015

Pros: Famous

Cons: Plain, boring vegan food, Better vegan options nearby

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Dogs NOT VEGAN! - Edit

their veggie dogs have egg. their veggie burgers are reportedly vegan.

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