Though I never had the pleasure of meeting him, I would like to say thank you to Ben Ali, the founder of Ben's Chili Bowl, in the U Street Corridor of Washington. Mr. Ali passed away yesterday, and the legacy that he has left is one to be reckoned with. A simple restaurant established in 1958 in the old Minnehaha Theater became an institution and a symbol of perseverance, and it just so happened to serve really good food (I already said what I liked).
Stories are already being filed about Mr. Ali and his legacy (here, here, and here are just a few); there will be more to come, and he deserves every single accolade. Mr. Ali embodied the spirit and resiliance of Washington, the city, and we were lucky that he chose to make this city his home.
I extend my condolences to the Ali family, and may Mr. Ali rest in peace.