Washington DC lost a great one. But they'll always have those fantastic half smokes. My last time at Bens Chili Bowl was July 6 this year, just before Sonic Youth played the 9:30 Club. While Patrick and I chowed down on sloppy, not-nutritious goodness, our friend from Seattle downplayed her chili order and claimed Bens was overrated because "it's been around for a long time."
Three weeks later, when I spoke with Steve Shelley, he said that the band had hit up Bens that day as well, and even proceeded to give a brief explanation of the Bowl and its history to my Canadian buddies.
Ben Ali is gone. The Chili Bowl lives on.