Ben Ali

When I first met Ben Ali, neither one of us knew we were going to become famous. It was 1958, and he had just opened Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, where he sold hot dogs, burgers and half-smokes. I didn't know what he put in those sausages, but I knew they were good. Back then there were quite a few black-owned restaurants, but Ben, who died Oct. 7 at 82, knew how to make his customers feel comfortable. During the riots in 1968, there were only two places in Washington that didn't get touched: the Lincoln Theatre and Ben's, right next...

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