Ben's Chili Bowl Restaurant, a famous diner in Washington for politicians and celebrities, has lost its founder Ben Ali who died Wednesday of natural causes, the restaurant said on its website.

Ben's Chili Bowl diner is a landmark place for the black business community in Washington. It opened in 1958 and is famous for its bowls of chili and its chili-covered half-smokes.

President Barack Obama visited for lunch in January. Bill Cosby visited too and famous jazz musicians Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole were known to visit the diner.

Ali founded the restaurant with his wife Virginia in an old movie house.

U.S.

U.S. President Barack Obama leaves Ben's Chili Bowl Restaurant after having lunch in Washington, January 10, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young
Customers

Customers are served at Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant in Washington September 16, 2006. Opened in 1958, the local eatery has not changed much in 48 years of business. The counter, booths and stools are all from that era, attracting large crowds of customers around the clock. REUTERS/Kamenko Pajic
Melted

Melted cheese is poured on a chili dog at Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington September 16, 2006. The local eatery, which opened in 1958, has not changed much in its 48 years of business. The counter, booths and stools are all from that era, attracting large crowds of customers around the clock. REUTERS/Kamenko Pajic
The

The menu of Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant is seen in Washington September 16, 2006. The local eatery opened in 1958 and has not changed much in 48 years of business. REUTERS/Kamenko Pajic