D.C. Landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl approved for PPP loan after public outcry

The D.C. landmark faced financial difficulties after the coronavirus pandemic forced its owners to shut down nearly all of its locations.

Discover #EatItForward www.theGrio.com
Ben's Chili Bowl, historic restaurant DC, Date 8 March 2020 (Wikimedia Commons Kurt Kaiser)

Ben’s Chili Bowl has been approved for a Paycheck Protection Program loan following a public outcry regarding their extended wait time.

The original restaurant, famously located on U Street, will receive a loan, along with all other Ben’s locations in Washington D.C., WJLA reporter Anna-Lysa Gayle tweeted on Tuesday, April 28.

The D.C. staple, which fed protestors during the Civil Rights Movement, faced financial difficulties after the coronavirus pandemic forced co-owner Sage Ali to shut down all of its locations, with the exception of U-Street.

“We have Ben’s Chili Bowl here, we have Nats Park, FedEx Field, Horseshoe Casino and we have Capital One Arena,” Ali explained to local news outlet WJLA on April 21. “We were looking to really have our best year yet. And all of a sudden this hit and it just took in a very, very different direction.”

READ MORE: Restaurant that fed protesters during civil rights faces financial woes during quarantine

The restaurant owner and his team applied for a PPP loan after Congress passed a historic $2 trillion stimulus package, which included $349 billion allocated to small businesses, on March 27.

Ben's Chili Bowl theGrio.com

Ben’s Chili Bowl, located at 1213 U Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Date 5 January 2010 (Wikimedia Commons)

The program, marred by technical glitches and red tape, ran out of money by April 16, with thousands of small business owners stranded without any income or assistance. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that large corporations, such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Shake Shack, had received millions of dollars worth of funding from the program.

“The COVID-19 hit us hard, we’ve had to consolidate, we’re just working out of here for carry out and delivery,” Ali said. “We applied for the PPP loan and unfortunately, it did not get through yet.”

READ MORE: Los Angeles Lakers return $4.6 million federal loan

Congress passed another $484 billion stimulus bill on April 21 to replenish the small business loans program.

The legislation includes $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, including $30 billion allocated to community lenders, small banks and credit unions, and $60 billion for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which includes $10 billion in emergency grants for businesses.