D.C.’s Ben’s Chili Bowl Earns an ‘A’ in PETA’s National Ranking of Burger-Joint Menus

District Eatery Receives Top Score, While Its Hometown Rivals, Burger King, Fuddruckers, and Smashburger, Each Get a ‘C’

For Immediate Release:
September 19, 2016

Diane Hsiung 202-483-7382


The demand for healthy and humane plant-based meals—including the ever-popular veggie burger—continues to skyrocket. Now, PETA has released letter grades for burger joints across the country, noting which spots offer delicious vegan entrées and which need to play ketchup—and several D.C. restaurants are standouts on the list.

Local favorite Ben’s Chili Bowl rocked the rankings with an “A” grade for offering multiple vegan entrées, including a veggie burger and veggie chili, while its competitors, Burger King, Fuddruckers, and Smashburger, fell short by not offering vegan-friendly versions of vegetarian menu options.

“Ben’s Chili Bowl’s vegan-friendly menu proves that no animals need to be harmed to make a crowd-pleasing burger,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges Burger King, Fuddruckers, and Smashburger to step up their game and satisfy the nation’s hunger for healthy, cruelty-free cuisine.”

Research from the National Restaurant Association confirms that plant-based meals are vital to an eatery’s success. In its What’s Hot 2016 Culinary Forecast, vegan entrées placed among the top 10 in the “Main Dishes” category and were said to be a “Hot Trend” or “Perennial Favorite” among 76 percent of professional chefs surveyed.

Another notable chain on PETA’s list is Wendy’s, which earned a “B” for piloting a black bean burger in a few locations. Shake Shack got a “C” for offering veggie burgers that contain milk and eggs, and Checker’s received an “F-” for not offering a single vegan-friendly menu option.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that cows raised for food are crammed together by the thousands in feces-filled lots. These sensitive, gentle animals are castrated and branded, often without pain relief. After being transported to slaughter in all weather extremes, they’re strung up by one leg and their throats are slit, sometimes while they’re still conscious.

In addition, cheap hamburger meat often comes from female cows on dairy farms, who are continually impregnated so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk and whose calves are repeatedly torn away from them within days of birth. Once they’re no longer considered useful for milk production, mother cows are slaughtered for meat.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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