Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl named Duke Zeibert Award recipient: RAMMYS 2019

Ali to receive award at special reception April 29

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), a top restaurant advocacy group in Washington, D.C., announced the 2019 Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award winner. Restaurateur Virginia Ali, owner and co- founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl, is being recognized with the Duke Zeibert Award, and will receive a tribute at a RAMW reception Monday, April 29. Each year, the RAMW Executive Committee honors individuals whose hard work has elevated the profile of D.C.’s foodservice community and dining scene.

The Duke Zeibert award is typically bestowed at a lead-up reception, attended by RAMW members and D.C. food, media & civic personalities. RAMW will recognize and announce the remaining, upcoming 2019 RAMMYS Award recipients at the RAMMY Award reception ceremony and gala that will take place June 30 at the Walter E. Convention Center. The RAMMYS celebrates D.C.-area foodservice personalities who demonstrate excellence in their craft and honors their achievements and hard work.

[Related story: Swizzle Chill TV Backstage Interviews at RAMMYS]

Said RAMW in its announcement, “As her beloved D.C. community knows so well, Virginia’s historic destiny found her the day she met Ben Ali, her husband and partner in life, love, family, and business. The dynamic newlyweds opened the doors of the now iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl on August 22, 1958. Today, over 60 years later, the institution has become a place of fond memories for countless guests from DC, Maryland, Virginia, and all around the world.”

Virginia Ali of Ben's Chili Bowl is the RAMMYS 2019 Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award winner.
Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl is the RAMMYS 2019 Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award winner. Photo by Ben’s Chili Bowl.

As the 2019 recipient, Ali receives recognition from the RAMMYS for what she’s accomplished across 60 years of restaurant life. She embodies and symbolizes the greatness and work ethic of a successful restaurateur. Additionally, the RAMW Executive Committee recognizes the philanthropic contributions she’s made, and the commitment demonstrated to her community and industry.

Ali has served on the Board of Directors of For Love of Children, The Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage, the Islamic Society of the Greater Washington Area, and Cultural Tourism DC, among others. Ali, or Mrs. Ben, as she is affectionately known, her late husband Ben and Ben’s Chili Bowl have received several accolades and high-profile recognition:

  • America’s Classics Restaurant Award from the James Beard Foundation
  • D.C. Hall of Fame in 2002
  • Key to the City by former D .C. Mayor Adrian Fenty
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl on Smithsonian “20 Most Iconic Food Destinations Across America.”

Related Swizzle Chill TV episode video:

Swizzle Chill TV at RAMMYS 2018. Produced by The Swizzle Chill Channel.

Learn more about the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Reception, or the 37th Annual RAMMY Awards Gala in June, by emailing

Photo credit: Eatery Pulse Media (featured), Ben’s Chili Bowl via Linda Roth PR (inline)

About the publisher.

%d bloggers like this: