- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ben Ali, co-founder of the Washington landmark restaurant Ben’s Chili Bowl, died Wednesday night. He was 82.

Among the many famous and everyday people who ate at the restaurant was Bill Cosby.

“Ben was a good friend,” Mr. Cosby said Thursday. “This is very sad.”

The restaurant has been a cultural landmark in the city for many years in the mostly black U Street neighborhood. The luncheonette-style store, known for its chili dogs, survived and then prospered after the 1960s riots.

The neighborhood and restaurant have enjoyed a renaissance recently, especially after President Obama went there for lunch after being elected in November.

Family members said Mr. Ali died of complications from congestive heart disease. He recently had a hospital procedure, returned home feeling better and then died at home.

“The Ali family and all of the Ben’s Chili Bowl … family want to thank Ben Ali for leading this legacy and allowing us to follow his dream,” the family said in a statement online. “We miss you and love you.”

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