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Two Ben's Restaurants Rushing To Penn Branch?!

Ben's would be right at home here, in good ole Penn Branch! (Compiled from a photo from Wikipedia)

[*Second Edition]
Negotiations with the D.C. Government to open TWO Ben’s restaurants here, in the River East neighborhood of Penn Branch, are “on the fast track”, according to Ben's Next Door proprietor, Mr. Kamal Ben Ali. According to Mr. Ben Ali, the Government is acting as quickly as possible to move the application and licensing process forward for a second Ben's Chili Bowl, styled like the U Street landmark, AND a new Ben's Next Door bar and grill, both to be located at Penn Branch Center.

In the interim, the Ben’s restaurant family is researching how best to appeal to the Penn Branch area. “The desire for [family-oriented] sitdown restaurants”, says Mr. Ben Ali, is of primary interest to the (presently unnamed) area representatives they are talking to, and that interest is shaping, “on a conceptual level”, what a Ben’s Next Door at Penn Branch Center might look like. As Ben’s Next Door in Northwest Washinton is, first and foremost, a bar, with restaurant-grill attached, ..Ben Ali says the proposed Penn Branch venture could be “more of a family restaurant-oriented [experience], with an attractive bar” and pubby feel.

There is, in this developing familiarity with our neighborhood, very shrewd and detailed market research at work.

The mid-upscale Penn Branch neighborhood (presently the home of D.C. Councilwoman Yvette Alexander) is the most central and culturally representative of the working-middle and upper class populations surrounding it, which include Randle Highlands-Westover, Twining, Pope Branch, DuPont Park, Hillcrest and even nearby Fairfax Village. While Hillcrest personalities may be making more of an impression on business and political entities, downtown, ..Penn Branch is and always has been at the cultural center of everything between Southern Avenue, Benning Road, Naylor Road and the Anacostia River; the Ben’s Chili Bowl family knows that and how vital it will be to the success of a restaurant, here. Ben’s is doing its homework, and that should be very impressive to all of us.

The retailers, soon to follow them across the Anacostia River (and they ARE coming), ignore that glaring fact at their economic peril.

While he did not confirm any names for the new restaurant, Mr. Ben Ali says “Ben’s Of Penn Branch” has possibilities. Can you imagine President Obama and his First Lady--famous patrons of Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street--with Sasha and Malia in tow, being quietly nudged to that nice Ben’s Of Penn Branch, just off of Capitol Hill, ..and with enough parking space for the presidential motorcade?

See you at Ben’s, Brangler!

Mel Dyer

*This article was cloned from "And Now,..Ben's Of Penn Branch?", published 6/29/10

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