Ben's Chili Bowl received a nomination in the first Manliest Restaurant in America contest, launched by Men's Health. Ben's, the only area selection, was picked not only for its cross-section of clientele ("packs of hipsters co-mingling with interns from the Hill. Ethiopians, Vietnamese, and Salvadorans...") but for D.C.'s possibly only native eat: the half-smoke.
"A 'half smoke' kicks sand in the face of your traditional wiener. It’s beefier, spicier, and a whole lot tastier than anything Hatfield every slapped its tag on," Men's Health writes, clearly avoiding its eponymous statement of purpose.
The choice of Ben's is expected, as the famous shop on U Street tends to conjure up more national support than local love. Ben's selection, in the Mid-Atlantic category, is up against some crowd-pleasers and unknowns. The famous sandwich joint Primanti Brothers is an obvious choice for Pittsburgh's inclusion but the writers clearly did their homework for Philly. The cheese steak shop nominated is Philly's
Pat's, Geno's, Jim's under-the-radar Steve's Prince of Steaks. Bravo Men's Health for searching out not another tourist trap.
Too bad, though, D.C.'s actually most manly spot—the strip club steak house, Stadium Club—was left out. [EaterWire]
[Photo: Alicia Griffin]