by January 29, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From Lauren Levine. Email her at lauren[AT]

"Young Professional"

The perfect host! (Google Maps)

Isn’t it peculiar how this city is practically dominated by young professionals (and over-pampered dogs) and yet there’s no one making fun of our strange and highly predictable ways? Well move aside, baby boomers, foreign diplomats and anyone with a mortgage (ages 30 to 55).

Generation Y is here to stay in the District and boy do we have problems.

If you’re a young professional living in the District, and especially one living in Borderstan, like me, you are probably a perpetual host.

But, if you’re also like me, having a visitor is quite a double edged sword. You’re excited to see them but exhausted at the thought of entertaining them for a few days. Parents may visit you every six to 12 months, and assuming you’re an underpaid, low-level staffer or, worse yet, an intern, you can’t go wrong with nice restaurants and non-Smithsonian museums (Newseum? $20? Ugh).

A Friend in Town?

Having a friend in town, though? That’s a completely different story. Whether or not you care to admit it, you’re in it to impress them with your awesome post-college lifestyle. I recommend:

  • The ultimate mall tour – we both know that you can’t afford a $50 hop on, hop off bus tour, let alone a $75 segway tour. So I recommend lacing up your sneakers and doing Lauren’s ultimate walking tour: a full day of bonding while being an excellent tour guide. Plus the walking will make you feel less guilty about the eating and drinking!
  • The nightlife – Most importantly, with a friend visiting, you have to show them a good time. You don’t want your visitor to think you have anything but the most vibrant social life. To show off your 15 to 25 friends all in one venue, I recommend American Ice Company (“look how hipster and trendy I am now!”), Buffalo Billiards (“Hail to the Redskins! I think that’s what all the locals say…”) or Lost Society (“Don’t you just love how DC has rooftop bars?”).
  • Late night eating – I’m both ashamed and proud to admit that my friends usually remember this best. Whether it’s Amsterdam Falafel, Jumbo Slice or Ben’s Chili Bowl, there’s a lot to show off in and near Borderstan.

(Luis Gomez Photos)

Pro Tips

  • Old Town Alexandria – Gosh this place is perfect for visitors. There’s amazing food, cute one-of-a-kind shops and it’s great in all seasons.
  • Mount Vernon – DC residents all too often forget that our city’s namesake lived just down the road, accessible by car, bike or boat – ideal for a political/history nerd.
  • The National Arboretum – 8 out of 12 months of the year, pack up a picnic (or some Taylor Gourmet sandwiches to go) and head over to our nicest park. Take fun photos among the Capitol Building columns!
  • Great Falls – Too crunchy for typical tourist stuff? Great Falls National Park is a quick drive away, and even if your visitor isn’t up for a hike, you can get instragrams views of the falls without having to walk more than 100 yards from your car!

(Luis Gomez Photos)

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by November 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm 0


The Foundry, Lettie Gooch and  Boundless Yoga. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

On Thursday, November 8, Think Local First and Live Green will sponsor a Locals Unplugged event, From Passion to Profit- How Three Local Women Left Big Box to Start their Own Businesses. The two-hour-long panel will take place at 8 am at Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U Street NW).

Throughout the event, Theresa Watts of Lettie Gooch, Kim Weeks of Boundless Yoga and Yvette Freeman of The Foundry will discuss how they got started, how they manage their successful businesses and where they see their businesses going in the future. The morning series includes a continental breakfast, a speaking session, a Q&A session and networking opportunities.

Tickets to the event are $15 for Think Local First members, $20 for students and nonprofits and $25 for non-members.

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by September 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm 1,335 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]


The U Street Movie Series at Harrison Recreation Center field. (Courtesy U Street Movie Series).

The U Street Movie Series will show its final film of the summer-long season on Wednesday, September 26, at Harrison Recreation Center field (1330 V Street NW). The movie for the evening will be The Pelican Brief, staring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington and featuring scenes from DC’s very own, Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Neighborhood favorites such as Marvin, The Gibson, Patty Boom Boom and Blackbyrd will provide DJ music starting at 7 pm, and the film will start at sundown. Be sure to pack a picnic for snacks, a blanket to sit on and a sweater to keep warm — the new fall weather could make for a chilly evening!

All movies in the U Street Movie Series are shown outdoors in a family-friendly environment and are free and open to the public. (However, four-legged family members must stay at home.)

Donations and sponsorships are accepted, and proceeds benefit Friends of Harrison Recreation Center (part of the U Street Neighborhood Association). For more information on the event, visit the website or the Facebook page.

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by March 26, 2012 at 12:05 am 0

"Borderstan""Ben's""Lauren PM"

“Ben’s” is by Lauren PM from the Borderstan flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “Ben’s” was taken by Lauren PM on March 11, U Street NW. Ben’s Chilli Bowl remains a landmark in Washington DC.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

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by February 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm 1,513 1 Comment

"Borderstan""Ben's Chilli Bowl""

Competition for Ben’s? (Luis Gomez Photos)

By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at [email protected]

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a DC institution, so is it a compliment or sacrilege to open the “DC Chili Bowl” on H Street NE? What if you were a former employee and Ben Ali’s family was planning on also opening an H Street outpost?

Well, we’re about to find out, as Anthony Holman plans to serve up chili with a few tweaks and variations from the Ben’s standard. Fried onions, kosher dogs, sauerkraut and cornbread are a few of those distinctions and it’s hard to find much fault with them (or maybe I’m just hungry).

The WTOP story is fairly polite in the comments from each side on the difference of opinion and what led to Holman’s departure from Ben’s to catering while he waits to open his new place… yet there is a simmering bit of spice behind each phrase. The idea of tinkering with a longtime institution rarely goes down easily to fans and families of the original, so it will be interesting to see what the public has to say about the new venture.

You can see the beef starting on Twitter, a little bit, at DC Chili Bowl’s Twitter feed.

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by February 10, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,497 0

MidCity Business Association, 2011 Dog Days Sidewalk Sale, Luis Gomez Photos

The MidCity Business Association created the Dog Days Sidewalk Sale on the 14th Street corridor. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? You can email him and follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

The MidCity Business Association (MCBA) announced that their Board of Directors decided to put the association into dormancy. In an email to members, Kamal Ali — owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl and MCBA President — said that dormancy means that the Association “will cease to accept annual dues, as well as cease all day-to-day operation; however, the Association will not be dissolved.”

Ali went on to say that the goal had always been to have a self-sustaining business association supported by member dues, but over time that model did not work due to lack of participation from the small business community in MidCity. MCBA had an executive director until late 2010 when the organization was no longer able to fund the position.

The MidCity BA was formed in 1998 to represent businesses along the commercial corridors along 14th Street NW from Florida Avenue to Thomas Circle and along U Street from 9th to 17th Streets. Their website lists dozens of business members, ranging from small independent shops such as Som Records and Rue 14, to landmark national retailers Room & Board and Whole Foods.

The MidCity BA had been the force behind the annual Dog Days Sidewalk Sale which has grown in popularity over the past 12 years. Ali said the board hopes to keep Dog Days alive through a partnership with Think Local First DC (TLFDC). During dormancy several MCBA board members will explore options and hopefully find and organizational plan to keep things afloat and continue to be an advocate for the business community.

TLFDC has been growing and active in DC, including the MidCity area, over the past two years. The organization has an executive director, Stacey Price, and a number of it members in the Borderstan area are also MCBA members. The organization is a member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), which helps Think Local First organizations get established across the country. TLFDC was a driving force locally for the Think Outside the (Big) Box retail tour on Small Business Saturday, November 26.

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by November 2, 2011 at 8:00 am 1,179 1 Comment

"Borderstan""15th Street NW", Marge Simspon, 15th Street NW

Halloween afternoon at 15th and P Streets NW: Just another day in the neighborhood; Marge Simpson, obviously. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Amtrak Expands WiFi

MetroWeekly reports that Amtrak is expanding free WiFi service on 12 east coast routes “just one week after confirming that it was conducting a soft launch of free WiFi service on its Northeast Regional trains?” As a result, 60% of all Amtrak passengers will have access to free WiFi.

Are H Street’s Hipster Days Numbered? Ben’s Buys Property

One just might have to venture that the H Street NE corridor’s days as DC’s next great Bohemian hangout and land of the skinny black jeans has come to an official close: Ben’s Chili Bowl has purchased property at 10th and H Streets NE. According to the Washington City Paper report, the new restaurant will not necessarily be another Chili Bowl, but something different. Crepes? Small plates? We’ll have to see.

Alexander Zeppos New Chef at Logan Tavern

P Street’s Logan Tavern has hired Alexander Zeppos as its new chef. He comes to the restaurant from Growlers in Gaithersburg, and before that he was the Executive Chef at Local 16 from 2004 to 2006. In addition, he’s held a variety of local culinary positions including Executive Sous Chef at Zaytinya, Jaleo and Ardeo. Zeppos brings a cooking style that includes American, Spanish and Greek food.

Outside Income for DC Councilmembers: Still in the News

The issue of DC Councilmembers  being able to hold outside jobs looks like an issue that isn’t going away, especially with the April primary only five months away. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who represents the bulk of the Dupont-Logan area, has been under the most fire recently. The issue is his other job as an attorney at Patton Boggs and the law firm’s dealing with the city on behalf of clients.

Outside jobs are not unusual. As DCist pointed out in an earlier article, a couple of other members of the Council also had substantial earnings last year from outside jobs: “Cheh [D-Ward 3] took in $280,000 in additional income, while Evans made $190,000 and Catania [I-At Large] $120,000.” Evans is up for re-election in 2012 and it appears that fellow Georgetown resident Fiona Greig will run against Evans in the Democratic Primary. Cheh was re-elected last year, as was Catania.

For the record, members of the Council make $125,583 and the chairman makes $190,000.

by March 14, 2011 at 5:00 am 0

Ben's Chili Bowl, U Street NW, Paul Frederiksen, Flickr

What’s green at Ben’s Chili Bowl? (Photo: Paul Frederiksen, Borderstan reader pool on Flickr)

From Mike Kohn. Got a news tip for Mike? Send him an e-mail or catch him on Twitter @mike_kohn.

Buy a Painting, Help Japanese Earthquake Victims

If you have a chance to stop by go mama go! at 14th and S Streets NW, 10% of the sales from purchases of Mei Mei Chang’s works will  go to help victims of the tsunami in Japan. Chang will also be donating one painting to help go mama go! raise some money before it ultimately shuts its doors. The well-known shop will be closing for good at the end of the month and will be holding a 40% off sale in preparation.

The Greenest Half Smoke in Town

Give it up for Ben’s Chili Bowl for getting notice for its green practices. TBD tell us that our favorite half smoke eatery has received an award for environmental stewardship from the Greenlight Biofuels, according to their blog. Don’t believe us? There’s a video so you can hear it from Ben’s yourself, detailing all of their awesome practices. The Earth and Captain Planet are silently thanking them.


by October 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm 1,239 0

Dupont Logan U Street NW Borderstan

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From Michelle Lancaster

Update on Hit and Run at Dupont Circle reports that the young woman struck in Wednesday night’s hit and run has passed away this evening. Keila Ryan, 24, was celebrating a birthday and was struck while exiting a vehicle in the 1300 block of Connecticut Ave. Stay tuned to as the story evolves – police have taken a Friendship Heights woman into custody after tracking her tag numbers.

Street Sense Silent Auction Oct. 14

Everyone knows the Express and the Examiner from their persistent hawking to morning commuters at Metro stops. Perhaps less well known are the men and women who sell Street Sense for $1. As their jingles state, Street Sense is a DC paper that is written by and about DC’s homeless. Learn more about the auction, which is just a little south of Borderstan proper.

Obama Fever? Rally Sends 3 Dozen to Health Services

President Obama visited the campus of Bowie State University today for a rally for Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley as the area enjoyed its first temperate fall weather in about a week. Unfortunately, the heat from the warm day and crush of students at the rally caused some health problems, WTOP reports. About 3 dozen people were treated for feeling faint.

Raising a Half Smoke to Ben Ali

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of Ben Ali, founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Stop by the original U St. location — am I the only one who can taste the difference at Nationals Stadium Ben’s outposts? — to get a memorial button, a half-smoke and enjoy a U St. institution. Read the full tribute from The Washington Post.

Rally for Sanity Details Out

While the National Mall is definitely outside Borderstan’s coverage area, the reported estimates in the hundreds of thousands of attendees mean that no one in DC will be able to escape the sanity or fear of the Stewart/Colbert rallies on Oct. 30. has the scoop on location and where proceeds go.

by December 26, 2008 at 6:56 pm 1 Comment

Luis Gomez, One Photograph A Day.)

Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. It now has the next-door space and will open a new restaurant there. (Image: Luis Gomez, One Photograph A Day.)

From today on Dcist:

Native Son To Helm “Next Door” Kitchen
The Post reports that Rahman “Rock” Harper — former “Hell’s Kitchen” winner and an Alexandria native — will return to the area to run the show at Next Door, the new U Street space neighboring Ben’s Chili Bowl.



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