Ben’s Chili Bowl Owner Virginia Ali Details How One of the Nations’ Most Iconic Black-Owned Restaurants Has Fostered a Lasting Community Culture
Arlington, Va., June 25, 2020 – Eagle Hill Consulting has released Episode 2 of its podcast, cultur[ED], which features conversations with top culture makers. This latest episode features a conversation with Virginia Ali, owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Ben’s Chili Bowl has been a cornerstone of the community in Washington, D.C. for more than sixty years. Virginia Ali founded the restaurant with her husband Ben in 1958, featuring their legendary half-smoke topped with chili, diced onions and shredded cheddar cheese. But even more legendary are the people from all walks of life who are drawn to gather at Ben’s – community members, students, civil rights leaders, politicians, musicians and celebrities.
During the podcast, Mrs. Ali shares how her restaurant offers more than just food – it brings people together.
“This is a special conversation that goes beyond business. It speaks to community, to humanity, to building a better world – and Ben’s Chili Bowl symbolizes it all,” says Melissa Jezior, the host of cultur[ED] and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting. “Mrs. Ali shares her journey of building a family business that has endured monumental challenges.”
“Few businesses survive for six decades. Perhaps overcoming adversity is what has given Ben’s Chili Bowl its resilience. But this family has done more than create a beloved restaurant – they’ve fostered a culture that has extended far into the community in an immeasurable and historic way,” Jezior said.
Mrs. Ali says that when she thinks of culture, she thinks of love. “Culture is so important — to maintain culture and to teach the next generation,” she said. “I think that a big change is coming. I think we’re on the verge of being able to make our world better, certainly when it comes to basic human rights.”
Newlyweds Ben and Virginia started their restaurant before the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, which in and of itself was a challenge. When the nation’s capital burned during riots sparked by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ben’s was the only restaurant to stay open because it was serving food to first responders. The business endured political and economic upheaval in the 70s and 80s, then the revitalization of the U Street Corridor in the 90s. Ben’s was on the brink of closure amid COVID-19, but managed to overcome both the pandemic and more riots in the streets of Washington, D.C in 2020.
Listen to the interview and subscribe to the podcast here.
cultur[ED] features conversations with top culturemakers in the world today from a variety of industries and backgrounds to unpack the visible and not-so-visible forces that make up this often overlooked super power of an organization.
Episode One of Season Two featured features Amy Brandwein, chef and owner of Centrolina and Piccolina, two of the most successful and acclaimed restaurants in the country. Brandwein explains that culture is oxygen for customers and employees, and that culture has been one of the roads to the restaurant’s success.
Season One provided insight on how business leaders apply culture and mindset practices implemented by top athletes and coaches. Episode One featured two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Abby Wambach. Episode Two provided insight from National Soccer Hall of Fame coach Anson Dorrance. Episode Three offered insight from Cathy Reese, Hall of Fame coach of the University of Maryland national championship womens’ lacrosse team. Episode Four featured former professional women’s soccer player Lindsay Henson’s views on creating business teams with a “refuse to lose” mindset, while Episode Five discussed with Victoria Blake her experience on the University of Wisconsin’s volleyball team that climbed from the bottom to make the NCAA championship game.
Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy & Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, from financial services to healthcare to media & entertainment. Eagle Hill has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Boston, MA and Seattle, WA. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.
Media Contact: Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | firstname.lastname@example.org | @WeAreEagleHill