36. U Street Restaurants | Ben’s Next Door

Posted at March 12, 2011 by 2 Comments

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Remember when you first walked into Ben’s Chili Bowl?  Were you thinking, “let me go grab a chili dog”?

Or were you more like, “Finally! I get to check out Ben’s!”

If you’re anything like me, it was the latter.  You were excited about the food AND the experience.   Well, Ben’s Next Door knocked both sooooo far out of the park, they shattered a windshield in the parking lot!

Our U Street Restaurant Experience at Ben’s Next Door

To get the feel of Ben’s Next Door, imagine a restaurant/lounge that captures the U street vibe, with a lofty upstairs dining area, and a mile long sports-like bar, all done with the charm and class that we’ve grown to love from the Ben’s folks.

And dare I say, they pulled it off without the pretentiousness that keeps me away from some of the other U Street restaurants.  They won with Ben’s Chili Bowl, and now they’re winning with Ben’s Next Door.

{Insert obligatory Charlie Sheen reference here}

We went for lunch and sat at one of the little raised tables across from the bar.  Here’s a shot of a section of the bar from our table, looking towards the door.

Great beer selection!  At happy hour you can get $3 and $4 drinks and also get special prices on awesome Ben’s Chili Bowl food.  Yup, they go grab it for you.  Have your beer with chili dogs and fries like a boss!

Lunch started with their free little bread basket with bite-sized corn bread and biscuits that we quickly destroyed.

Then our appetizers came.  We had checked out some yelp reviews and folks seemed to love their scallops, so we thought we would give them a try. Yum!  Ridiculously good.  Whoever made the sauce they came in should be up for some type of award somewhere.

Next up was the She Crab soup.  Seriously, anything I say about this soup is going to come across as hyperbole, so I’ll just say this:

“Daymnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! ”

We got the shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles.  I’m not the biggest fan of grits as a breakfast food, but shrimp and grits works for me.  Theirs were well seasoned and the grits were smooth and tasty.  When I got shrimp, grits, and basil (I think that’s what it was) in my mouth at the same time, it was like a mini explosion of exciting flavors.

I see why this is one of the most popular dishes on the menu.

Their sweet potato fries as our second side order.

You already know we weren’t going to go there and not try the chicken and waffles.  It would be like taking your first trip to Paris and not checking out the Eiffel Tower.  That would just be uncivilized.

If you order the chicken and waffles you may need a take-out box.   It’s a nice sized chicken breast, and we enjoyed it immensely.

Prices were reasonable for food this good.  Everything came to a little over $50.  Not bad for one of the premier U Street Restaurants.  Here’s an idea of prices on their little daily special board:

Oh and on Tuesdays they have live performances that you’ll have to check out.  You’ll find some of DC’s best independent artists showcased here.  And it’s all free.  Yup, no cover charge.  Right up my alley!

I really could go and and on about this place…I think I’m in love!  The staff was friendly and professional, the food was great, and the vibe there was magical.

Ben’s Next Door BUM RUSHES our list of 365 Things to do in DC like they knew they belonged all along.  This experience was awesome…  Have a blast!

1213 U St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20009


About rohan

Accountant, foodie, semi-extrovert, and travel addict, bringing you a list of the most awesome Things to do in Washington DC. So, was this post helpful? I'd like to hear ALL your feedback. Comment below and I'll respond right away.

2 Responses to “36. U Street Restaurants | Ben’s Next Door”

  1. Finally, a decent chicken and waffles combo in DC! You don’t know how long I was looking for one. Back in LA, I get ’em all the time at a pretty famous place called Roscoe’s, and I was shocked that I couldn’t find anything comparable in DC.

    Btw, amazing photos. That She Crab soup photo just screams “Daymnnnnnnnn.”

    • rohan says:

      I’ve heard of Roscoe’s…wish I could make it out to the Left Coast some time to check them out. I enjoyed the chicken and waffles, it was my first time having (what i thought was a weird combo), but they are surprisingly good together. And yup, the She-crab was seriously good!


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