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National Restaurant Association - Happy National Chili Dog Day

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Happy National Chili Dog Day

Did you know it’s National Chili Dog day? Join us in celebrating by supporting your local chili restaurants today.

We marked the occasion at Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C., with founder Virginia Ali. We honored Ali five years ago with one of our Faces of Diversity Award and profiled son Nizam about the 55-year-old family business. Here's  some history of the restaurant from the awards program:

The story of Ben’s Chili Bowl’s began with Ben Ali and Virginia Rollins. Ali came from Trinidad at age 18 and attended five universities in nine years. A fall down an elevator shaft broke his back and ended his dream of being a dentist. He tried several jobs until he found his calling at Ann’s Hot Dogs.

His fiancée, Virginia Rollins, grew up on a 150-acre Virginia farm. She was a bank teller on what was then Washington’s “Black Broadway” when she met Ali. A week before the couple married, they opened Ben’s Chili Bowl in what had been a pool hall. Today, two of their three sons operate the restaurant and a bar, Ben’s Next Door. “Imagine starting with nothing, but now it’s a landmark,” Virginia says.

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