Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio and Events DC Announce Grand Opening of Ben’s Chili Bowl and Shop Made DC inside Walter E. Washington Convention Center

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for…

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, announced the opening of two locally-owned vendors inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Ben’s Chili Bowl and Shop Made in DC. Hosted in partnership with Aramark, these exciting new additions will provide guests with authentic DC experiences through locally-inspired cuisine and crafts that visitors to the District crave.

«We have been inviting people to come back and experience DC, and it is always important to us that visitors are able to experience the real DC. It doesn’t get more DC than Ben’s Chili Bowl or a whole shop filled with items made by DC creatives,» said Mayor Muriel Bowser. «Spread the word: DC is open and so is our Convention Center.»

«What do Michael J. Fox, The Eagles, and Shaquille O’Neal all have in common?,» said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. «Because DC is Open, we will each be making appearances at venues throughout Washington, DC this month, and the Convention Center will be the epicenter of the excitement with two citywide shows that are the first since the Winter of 2020. We are especially excited that visitors to the Convention Center will get a chance to Experience DC with new retail and restaurant options, including one of the District’s iconic gems, Ben’s Chili Bowl!»

Ben’s Chili Bowl, renowned for its famous «half-smoke,» is a city landmark that began on Washington, DC’s celebrated U Street NW. Founded in 1958, Ben’s continues to be a must-visit restaurant for foodies and visitors seeking the local flavors of the nation’s capital. The latest outlet for Ben’s Chili Bowl is located inside the new Uptown Dining District at the Convention Center and will be open during all convention and show hours.

Shop Made in DC is a retail initiative with a mission to showcase the District’s local makers and artists. As the first retailer dedicated solely to «made in DC» products, the location inside the Convention Center will become the retailer’s fifth location in the District. The shop is located at the entrance of the South building on L Street NW and will be open during all convention and show hours.

«The Walter E. Washington Center continues to evolve to be more than just a meeting facility,» said Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC. «The arrival of these two dynamic vendors allows our visitors to experience the authenticity of DC through locally-inspired cuisine and unique retail only found in the District. When we embarked on this project, we made it our top priority to listen to our guests and customers to make sure we deliver the type of experiences that excite them the most. Shop Made in DC and Ben’s Chili Bowl will do just that and more.»

The retail locations open just as Events DC prepares to welcome guests back to the Walter E. Washington Convention center with the return of two popular conventions this month. The Convention Center will once again host Otakon (August 6-8) and Awesome Con (August 20-22), welcoming Asian pop culture and geek culture fans from across the country. With 14,000 attendees anticipated for Otakon and 70,000 for Awesome Con, these are the first major-scale events since the beginning of the pandemic, serving as a clear sign that the District is back in business with live experiences.

Events DC is prepared to welcome everyone back safely, with the implementation of advanced health and safety protocols and ensuring all events are held within the guidelines set forth by the DC Department of Health and the Executive Office of the Mayor. Read more at


Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that hosts more than 1.7 million visitors and generates more than $400 million annually in total economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus (RFK Campus), including Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Festival Grounds at RFK Campus, The Fields at RFK Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory and the Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Stay current on the 190-acre RFK Campus Redevelopment Project at Events DC also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. Events DC manages Gateway DC, R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center and Entertainment & Sports Arena, all conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC.


Craig Chester, Events DC


LaToya Foster, Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser


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