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Washington's most famous hot dog emporium turns 60

Washington, Aug 27 (EFE).- Iconic Washington fast food restaurant Ben's Chili Bowl and its legendary hot dogs celebrated their 60th anniversary this month, having survived the 1968 riots, endured the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and seen a dozen presidents walk through its doors.

Ben Ali, an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago, opened the eatery with his then-girlfriend, Virginia, in August 1958 on U Street, a thoroughfare known as the "Black Broadway," in the heart of the African-American community in the US capital.

When Ben's Chili Bowl opened, President Dwight Eisenhower was starting his second term and now it's Donald Trump in the White House.

Customers keep going back to Ben's, whose hot dogs and hamburgers have become a culinary legend in Washington.

The restaurant, with its bright yellow and red colors, has a mural featuring Barack and Michelle Obama, who were frequent diners during their time in the White House, making Ben's a must-see landmark in Washington.

Ben Ali died a few years ago, but Virginia, 84, and their children are now in charge of the eatery.

The past six decades have been tough on both the US capital and the business.

In 1968, 10 years after it opened and became a neighborhood restaurant, Ben's was in the front lines during the violent protests that started after Martin Luther King's assassination, affecting a large part of the city and U Street, in particular.

Ben's Chili Bowl was one of the few establishments that survived the riots.

After enduring Washington's darkest times, when the city's homicide rate made it the murder capital of the United States, the neighborhood slowly began to recover.

Comedian Bill Cosby said the eatery was his favorite stop in Washington and the hot dog restaurant began appearing in tour guides.

A few days after winning the 2008 presidential election, Obama stopped by to sample the legendary hot dogs at Ben's Chili Bowl.

Other celebrities followed, including former first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who tried the hot dogs with his wife, Carla Bruni.

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