A quick search for vegan chow at Reagan doesn’t look promising but this summer Ben’s Chili Bowl opened up. It’s a DC institution specializing in critter filled dogs, burgers and chili that is kind enough to offer alternative menu items for the compassionate set. Located pre-security in the B/C Terminal, they offer vegans chili and burgers. Vegetarians are also offered a dog.
I often choke when ordering at a new to me place. I try to hide my newbie status with speed. This time my haste yielded a veggie burger sub consisting of two pucks on a six inch roll. Considering that I’d just finished a bowl of oatmeal at Starbucks (I saw Starbucks before Ben’s), one puck would have been better. Better still I should have skipped the second breakfast but it’s fun to try non chain vegan offerings at airports.
The sub came without chili, but they gave me a side when I asked. In my haste I thought the menu said it came with chili, but I later saw that chili was only listed as standard on the meat sub. Why the difference? Also strange that the veggie sub costs a buck forty more than the meat version. I’m used to upcharges for meat analogs, but Ben’s doesn’t impose them for any analog except the veggie sub.
Enough with the fine print. The veggie pucks were of the trying to be like meat variety and they were very good. They would have looked better if cooked longer with higher heat. Maybe ask for them well done? The veggie chili was terrific. Mild for my taste, but they have hot sauce at the drink station. All in, a good experience worth repeating.
They also offer fried potatoes for breakfast. Nothing else seemed vegan. Before Starbuck’s oatmeal, potatoes were often all I could get for breakfast at airports. So it is nice that Ben’s offers the main menu all day. Not sure I’d again do the veggie chili sub for breakfast, let alone as a breakfast dessert, but it is comforting to have the option. Thanks Ben’s!