Once Parker returned and they'd trooped upstairs, Hardison picked up his remote and started running the information gathering session.
"Ben's Chili Bowl," he explained, as an old picture of a black couple came over the monitors, standing in front of a restaurant that looked brand new. "Seen here on its opening day, August 22, 1958, with owners Ben and Virginia Ali. This little restaurant has had a huge cultural impact on DC. It opened on U Street, back when DC was still segregated, and was one of the most popular restaurants in the city. Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Nat King Cole used to eat there after performing at black jazz clubs on U Street."
He eyed Eliot. "Those names would be familiar if you know anything about music with soul," he jibed. "Anyway, moving on, the Chili Bowl also managed to stay open during the riots of '68 after Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated. Most other places had to shut down and obey the curfew, but Ben got permission to stay open and fed cops and firefighters as they tried to combat the mess."
He rattled off some more of the more interesting historical facts about the restaurant before turning to their clients. "So, Eliot's friend Vance called us on behalf of the current owners of Ben's Chili Bowl, Kamal and Nizam Ali, sons of Ben and Virginia. After almost sixty years of history, one Congressman Jessup from the Norman district of Oklahoma has come forward stating he has evidence that the young Ali's have been using their company to launder money for various criminals around DC. He's facing a lot of heat for it, as Ben's Chili Bowl is pretty famous and popular, but he's not backing down which means he's either got something iron-clad or there's more on the line for him than his political career. He's calling for the original location of Ben's Chili Bowl to close down for the duration of the investigation. Now, our boy Vance thinks that there's something fishy going on and wants us to help the Ali's out so the restaurant can stay open. This is about more than just a restaurant or even a legacy, you know? This is a restaurant that the people of the community have looked to and taken pride in for years. It's practically a damn landmark."
[For the fellow thieves, please!]
- The New Headquarters of Leverage, Inc, (The Apartment Above Lukes), Tuesday Night