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A memorial is set for Ben Ali, the founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl diner, who died earlier this month at 82.

The memorial is Friday at Lincoln Theater. The theater is next to Ali’s historic restaurant, a landmark in Washington’s black business and entertainment district and a frequent stop for politicians and celebrities.

Ben Ali was born in 1927 and opened the restaurant with his wife, Virginia, in an old movie house in 1958, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and integrating public schools.

It became a longtime fixture in the black business community, serving up bowls of chili and its trademark chili-covered half-smoke sausages.


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