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A half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl
A half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

13 Hearty Half-Smokes Around D.C.

Where to find the District’s signature sausage

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A half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl
| Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Say the word half-smoke, and the first place that typically comes to mind is Ben’s Chili Bowl, the landmark U Street restaurant that’s spent decades dishing out spicy pork and beef sausage links seared on a flat top and served “all the way” with onions, mustard, and chili.

But there plenty of other places to find alternative takes on the iconic dish. From a historic competitor located just across the river to a homegrown sausage maker that simply loves meat, this list has got it covered.

Updated by Eater Staff

The featured bars and restaurants are not ranked. They are arranged geographically from north to south.

Don’t see a personal favorite on the list? Sound off in the comments or shoot us an email (dc@eater.com).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pitmasters Back Alley BBQ

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4818 Yuma St NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 350-9791
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This Tenleytown spot from the butchering family behind Wagshal’s features a half-smoke that sticks to the script of onion, chili, and cheese — though it does attempt to spruce things up by offering a side of “sidewinders” (fries). The restaurant also offers apple slaw as a side, which can be a tangy complement to the sausage.

Dangling half-smokes at Pitmasters.
Pitmasters [Official photo]

2. Ben's Chili Bowl (Multiple locations)

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1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-0909
Visit Website

Synonymous with the half-smoke, the original Ben’s has seen the U Street corridor turn from “black Broadway” into a rough patch of the city and, now, a thriving nightlife district. The late-night crowd has a soft spot for Ben’s, which is an option until 4 a.m. on weekends. Ben’s now has outposts on H Street NE and in Arlington, as well as half-smoke shops at local sports arenas and Reagan National Airport. —Gabe Hiatt

SiriusXM Host Joe Madison Honors The Life And Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., With A Live Broadcast From Ben’s Chili Bowl In Washington, DC Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for SiriusXM

3. Halfsmoke

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651 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 518-3181
Visit Website

Steps away from Ben’s, Halfsmoke caters to a younger crowd of Instagram opportunists with playful decor, boozy cocktails, and over-the-top garnishes for milkshakes and bloody marys. The signature half-smoke comes with chili, bacon, mustard, onion crisps, and beer cheese.

4. Meats & Foods

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247 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 505-1384
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This neighborhood sausage maker located between Shaw and Bloomingdale offers its half-smoke with chili and cheese (classic) or with toppings like bacon, sauerkraut, and pickles. Want more? Sausage links for DIY grilling and take-home chili are for sale, too.

5. Dcity Smokehouse

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203 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 733-1919
Visit Website

What’s a homegrown barbecue pit to do in a town fixated on half-smokes? Combine the two, of course. DCity smothers its snappy half-smoke in brisket chili, cheddar cheese, red onions, and mustard.

6. Passenger

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1539 7th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 853-3588
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The half-smoke at this casual Shaw cocktail bar features a sausage from the Stachowski’s butcher shop in Georgetown onions and a pork-cheek chili.

An actual picture or our half smoke! http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-half-smoke-in-washington-dc/

Posted by The Passenger on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

7. Stachowski's Market

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1425 28th St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 506-3125
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This butcher shop tucked away on a residential street in Georgetown is popular for its humongous sandwiches. While the pastrami and the “4 meat grinder” are the most popular, there’s also a half-smoke with onions and mustard.

8. Sweet Home Cafe

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200 15th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 633-1000
Visit Website

Alongside its po’boys, fried chicken, red velvet cake, and collard greens, the restaurant built into the National Museum of African American History & Culture features its own version of the half-smoke. The only downside? The only way to experience the distinctly D.C. meal involves securing a ticket to the insanely busy museum.

Sweet Home Cafe, the restaurant at The National African American Museum of History and Culture
Inside Sweet Home Cafe
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

9. Union Meat Co

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225 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 547-2626
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At this family-owned butcher shop in Eastern Market, you can try two different half-smokes from their cart. A “hot half smoke” and a “mild” both come with a firm sausage that is scored then grilled.

10. Big Stick

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20 M St SE
Washington, D.C.
(202) 750-7724
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This Navy Yard sports bar right by Nationals Park sells a Half Street Smoke topped with chili, cheddar, onion, and jalapenos with a side of Old Bay chips.

View this post on Instagram

HALF SMOKE (show), showing off

A post shared by The Big Stick (@thebigstickdc) on

11. Bob & Edith's (Multiple locations)

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2310 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA
(703) 920-6103
Visit Website

This 24-hour Northern Virginia diner now has four locations and is primed for a big expansion. It offers half-smokes as a breakfast meat alongside pancakes or fried eggs or in between a bun for a filling lunch or dinner.

12. Weenie Beenie

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2680 Shirlington Rd
Arlington, VA 22206

A Shirlington mainstay for over 60 years, fans of this iconic carry-out know to order their half-smokes “all the way” — which summons a freshly grilled link that’s split right down the middle and topped with chili, onion, relish, and mustard.

13. Haute Dogs and Fries

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610 Montgomery St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-3891
Visit Website

The hot dogs at this Alexandria spot come in a variety of creative takes on classics like Reubens, Chicago dogs, and banh mi. The specialty half-smoke has a great snap to it and is best enjoyed as part of a “Three Piece Suit,” a generous topping of chili, cheese, and onions. It’s also open at Nationals Park.

1. Pitmasters Back Alley BBQ

4818 Yuma St NW, Washington, DC 20016
Dangling half-smokes at Pitmasters.
Pitmasters [Official photo]

This Tenleytown spot from the butchering family behind Wagshal’s features a half-smoke that sticks to the script of onion, chili, and cheese — though it does attempt to spruce things up by offering a side of “sidewinders” (fries). The restaurant also offers apple slaw as a side, which can be a tangy complement to the sausage.

4818 Yuma St NW
Washington, DC 20016

2. Ben's Chili Bowl (Multiple locations)

1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009
SiriusXM Host Joe Madison Honors The Life And Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., With A Live Broadcast From Ben’s Chili Bowl In Washington, DC Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Synonymous with the half-smoke, the original Ben’s has seen the U Street corridor turn from “black Broadway” into a rough patch of the city and, now, a thriving nightlife district. The late-night crowd has a soft spot for Ben’s, which is an option until 4 a.m. on weekends. Ben’s now has outposts on H Street NE and in Arlington, as well as half-smoke shops at local sports arenas and Reagan National Airport. —Gabe Hiatt

1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

3. Halfsmoke

651 Florida Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Steps away from Ben’s, Halfsmoke caters to a younger crowd of Instagram opportunists with playful decor, boozy cocktails, and over-the-top garnishes for milkshakes and bloody marys. The signature half-smoke comes with chili, bacon, mustard, onion crisps, and beer cheese.

651 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

4. Meats & Foods

247 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

This neighborhood sausage maker located between Shaw and Bloomingdale offers its half-smoke with chili and cheese (classic) or with toppings like bacon, sauerkraut, and pickles. Want more? Sausage links for DIY grilling and take-home chili are for sale, too.

247 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Dcity Smokehouse

203 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

What’s a homegrown barbecue pit to do in a town fixated on half-smokes? Combine the two, of course. DCity smothers its snappy half-smoke in brisket chili, cheddar cheese, red onions, and mustard.

203 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

6. Passenger

1539 7th St NW, Washington, D.C.

The half-smoke at this casual Shaw cocktail bar features a sausage from the Stachowski’s butcher shop in Georgetown onions and a pork-cheek chili.

1539 7th St NW
Washington, D.C.

7. Stachowski's Market

1425 28th St NW, Washington, DC 20007

This butcher shop tucked away on a residential street in Georgetown is popular for its humongous sandwiches. While the pastrami and the “4 meat grinder” are the most popular, there’s also a half-smoke with onions and mustard.

1425 28th St NW
Washington, DC 20007

8. Sweet Home Cafe

200 15th St NW, Washington, D.C.
Sweet Home Cafe, the restaurant at The National African American Museum of History and Culture
Inside Sweet Home Cafe
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Alongside its po’boys, fried chicken, red velvet cake, and collard greens, the restaurant built into the National Museum of African American History & Culture features its own version of the half-smoke. The only downside? The only way to experience the distinctly D.C. meal involves securing a ticket to the insanely busy museum.

200 15th St NW
Washington, D.C.

9. Union Meat Co

225 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

At this family-owned butcher shop in Eastern Market, you can try two different half-smokes from their cart. A “hot half smoke” and a “mild” both come with a firm sausage that is scored then grilled.

225 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

10. Big Stick

20 M St SE, Washington, D.C.

This Navy Yard sports bar right by Nationals Park sells a Half Street Smoke topped with chili, cheddar, onion, and jalapenos with a side of Old Bay chips.

20 M St SE
Washington, D.C.

11. Bob & Edith's (Multiple locations)

2310 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA

This 24-hour Northern Virginia diner now has four locations and is primed for a big expansion. It offers half-smokes as a breakfast meat alongside pancakes or fried eggs or in between a bun for a filling lunch or dinner.

2310 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA

12. Weenie Beenie

2680 Shirlington Rd, Arlington, VA 22206

A Shirlington mainstay for over 60 years, fans of this iconic carry-out know to order their half-smokes “all the way” — which summons a freshly grilled link that’s split right down the middle and topped with chili, onion, relish, and mustard.

2680 Shirlington Rd
Arlington, VA 22206

13. Haute Dogs and Fries

610 Montgomery St, Alexandria, VA 22314

The hot dogs at this Alexandria spot come in a variety of creative takes on classics like Reubens, Chicago dogs, and banh mi. The specialty half-smoke has a great snap to it and is best enjoyed as part of a “Three Piece Suit,” a generous topping of chili, cheese, and onions. It’s also open at Nationals Park.

610 Montgomery St
Alexandria, VA 22314

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