Ben's Chili Bowl opens in Arlington

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP/WJLA) - A District of Columbia landmark is expanding across the Potomac.

Ben's Chili Bowl opened its first location in Virginia on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Arlington.

Bill Cosby, the restaurant's most famous cheerleader, cut the ribbon and entertained a crowd of several hundred that turned out to get one of Ben's signature chili half-smokes.

Cosby, a Navy veteran, said he's glad Ben's opened in Arlington because he may be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.{ }

“So my ghost can get up and make the trip here instead of flying all the way over to U Street,” he said.

Ben and Virginia Ali opened their restaurant in 1958 in U Street in the District. It stayed open through race riots in the late '60s that devastated the neighborhood and has been a keystone in that neighborhood's revitalization.

Thursday's opening marks the first new stand-alone Ben's Chili Bowl since the original opened more than 55 years ago. The Ali family says it may look to expand further if the Arlington location is a success.

“We want to eventually franchise so we want to put together three models, the first one here, second at National Airport, and the third at H Street Northeast,” says Kamal Ali.{ }