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Arlington is known for its global dining scene and diverse community. Explore Arlington's neighborhoods and visit these Black-owned eateries and businesses. Learn all about the stories of the resilient entrepreneurs behind these businesses below.
If you are looking for an authentic Ethiopian dining experience, this is the real deal. Family-owned and operated, Dama is known for its traditional Ethiopian fare and unforgettable cakes. The restaurant is casual and embodies a home-cooked feeling. Dama is known for its spicy breakfast dishes, ample portions, and complimentary injera bread. If you are new to Ethiopian food, try the Vegetarian Combo or the Lamb Awaze Tibs. The attached bakery offers European cakes, pastries, and more. Both the restaurant and bakery offer a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options.
A black-owned hidden gem, Bethel Cafe offers authentic and delicious Ethiopian cuisine and coffee. Owner Ferehiwat Gedremariam opened this charming eatery, and has been serving the local community ever since. Bethel Cafe's menu features a variety of Ethiopian breakfast and lunch dishes including Dirkosh, Awaxe Tibs, as well as vegetarian options. Aside from excellent food, you can also experience an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, a social and spiritual tradition in Ethiopia. During the ceremony the hostess washes, roasts and grinds fresh coffee beans for her guests, in celebration of friendship.
Fresh, colorful and delicious! Greens N Teff is a family-owned café specializing in Ethiopian plant-based cuisine, available for carry out and delivery. This vibrant eatery’s mission is to connect diners with Ethiopian culture through the love, flavors, and colors of the country’s unique cuisine. Their menu consists of popular plant-based Ethiopian dishes, including Split Pea Stew, Spicy Mushroom Enguday Tibs, Beans and Potatoes Keysir and more. Greens N Teff’s dishes are best enjoyed in small bites, accompanied by the traditional injera bread, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture.
The community-centric Idido's Coffee & Social House specializes in high-quality coffee. Sofonios and Mesfin come from Ethiopia, where coffee ceremony is an integral part of social and cultural life. They set out to bring this piece of home to Arlington in the form of a coffee shop. In addition to their extensive coffee menu, Idido serves breakfast pastries, sandwiches and healthy lunch dishes. The Avocado Toast is a big hit, prepared with a freshly cooked egg on top and hints of lemon. Sofonio’s go-to order? A Pesto Chicken sandwich on sourdough bread and a Dirty Chai, hot or iced.
There's nothing like mom's cooking! Chef Rahman "Rock" Harper opened Queen Mother's Fried Chicken in August of 2020 as a tribute to his mom Carole Harper. This black-owned eatery serves premium fried chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, half-smoke sausages, and breakfast. Their signature Queen Mother's Classic sandwich features a brined chicken breast cooked in duck fat, served with their specialty Mother Sauce and crisp dill pickles on a toasted brioche bun (baked locally at Lyon Bakery.) Queen Mother's is committed to serving chicken with no additives, prepared with all-natural ingredients. In addition, their eco-friendly compostable packaging is made from plant-based renewable resources derived from bagasse and bamboo.
Meda Coffee & Kitchen opened on Columbia Pike in July of 2022, and has since been serving delicious and authentic Ethiopian cuisine. This self-proclaimed "home of incredible coffee and kitfo" offers a varied menu including Ethiopian classics, as well as vegetarian options, and an extensive coffee menu.
Azi Flowers opened in 2022 and is known for their hand-delivered premium floral arrangements and gift baskets. With free delivery for local online orders, this is your spot for beautiful flowers to commemorate everything from birthdays to anniversaries, and every little “just because” moment in between.
Calling all sandwich lovers! Euro Market & Café is the place for you. Located in Arlington’s civic center, this black-owned eatery specializes in freshly made Boar’s Head sandwiches, paninis, wraps and salads. Their signature sandwiches are a must-try: the Euro Club sandwich is made with Black Forest ham, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, muenster cheese, pesto sauce, and Pepperhouse Gourmaise dressing on rosemary focaccia bread. The café’s menu also features pressed juice, smoothies and even delicious Belgian waffles. In addition, Euro Market & Café also supports the local arts community by hosting art shows and open mics every month.
When searching for a great cut and shave, look no further than Mr. Moore’s Barber Shop. Mr. Moore Sr. ran the Shop for 40 years and became a respected role model for many young Black men in the Arlington community. His son, Mr. Moore Jr. now runs the Shop. Mr. Moore’s Barber Shop is known for its excellent service, kind barbers, and special sense of community. Moore Jr. runs the Shop by the following sentiment: “we provide great service with a smile.”
Combining the expertise of superior geometric cutting, expert softening, and signature color services, Magnum Opus Salon is second to none. Attention to detail and imagination is the foundation of their unique work. It is the elements that truly bring their masterpieces to life.
Mumu Cafe is an unassuming yet charming eatery serving a variety of acai bowls, smoothies, sandwiches, coffee and much more. This local spot is perfect for grabbing a quick meal, or meeting up for a cup of coffee. Their "Made with Love" light up sign says it all, Mumu Cafe serves delicious food with lots of heart.
What’s not to love about delicious food and live music? Enjera Restaurant in Crystal City offers Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine at a reasonable price, accompanied by a warm and inviting atmosphere. Their menu offers a variety of traditional dishes, desserts, cocktails, draft beer, and hookah. Stop by on Friday or Saturday night to enjoy an evening of exciting live music and entertainment.
Stop by this cozy wine bar, bistro and boutique in Crystal City for a glass of wine and a delicious bistro menu. Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique opened in May of 2022 and features a variety of offerings perfect for wine lovers. In addition, their charming space is also available for private events, complete with a wine concierge who can assist in planning!
Nothing beats a great slice of pizza, and Matchbox knows that well. Established in 2003, Matchbox opened its first location in Washington D.C. serving delicious wood-fired pizza. Since then, they have expanded to 11 restaurants throughout D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. Their Pentagon City location has become a neighborhood staple, and one of the best places to dine in Arlington. Although the restaurant’s signature menu item is their wood-fired pizzas, they also offer incredible brunch options, a variety of starters, soups, and salads. Aside from great food, they also have a selection of mouthwatering cocktails including their Fig + Black Pepper Old Fashioned, a Chile Spiced Margarita, a Hibiscus Lemon Drop, and more.
This unique Arlington shop takes puppetry to a whole new level. Longtime puppeteer, Alban Odoulamy first opened Puppet Heaven in Crystal City back in 1996 and has been in the puppet business ever since. His love for puppets goes further back as he was formally trained in marionette puppetry in his home country of Benin. Both children and adults are welcomed to stop by and marvel at Odoulamy’s impressive collection of puppets of all shapes and sizes. Puppet Heaven highlights the joys of toys that spark wonder and storytelling.
If you haven’t tried Shuck Shack’s gourmet street corn, you are missing out. Shuck Shack serves locally sourced, fresh, made-to-order corn with a wide array of delicious seasonings. This veteran-owned spot opened Fall of 2020 at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City to rave reviews. People travel from far and wide for this sweet and savory snack; loyal customers even take a trip to the mall just for the corn. Owner Vince tried the corn for the first time at a Miami birthday party and knew he had to bring back the recipes to Arlington. For some authentic local flavor, try the Old Bay seasoning or go international with the famous Mexican Street Corn. If you just can’t choose, the Chef’s Selection consists of special seasoning guaranteed to wow.
Soul food on wheels! After the closure of their 20-year brick-and-mortar Flavors Soul Food Restaurant took their menu to the streets of Arlington by establishing Flavors Food Truck in 2018. This on-the-go eatery offers its services at several locations across Arlington, including Rosslyn, Ballston, and Pentagon City. Their menu offers mouthwatering soul food classics: Buttermilk Chicken, Fried Pork Chops, Jumbo Fried Shrimp, Pulled Pork BBQ and more. Aside from rolling through Arlington with its incredible food offerings, Flavors Food Truck also provides catering services for large events.
An Arlington local for 23 years, Crystal Ellis is the owner and operator of B.Birdwatcher Spiritual Stones, an online jewelry store focused on creating custom-made stone bracelets. Although Ellis has a career in pharmaceutical sales, seven years ago she was inspired to start creating her own bracelets after attending an Oprah “The Life You Want” seminar. Ellis began by creating jewelry and gifting it to her loved ones as presents. This soon created interest in her products as her co-workers began asking if the pieces she was gifting were also available for purchase. After selling a few, Ellis decided to seize the opportunity and open a virtual shop, which she named B. Birdwatcher Spiritual Stones after her childhood nickname.
Her website launch was greatly successful, which led Ellis to begin selling her jewelry at local Arlington makers’ markets and festivals. However, COVID-19 has caused her to shift her focus back to online sales and create engaging online content to promote her products. Ellis considers being able to share her art and appreciation of healing stones one of her biggest accomplishments. She shared that one of her greatest joys is meeting people who have purchased her jewelry and wear it daily. Providing a personalized purchasing experience for her customers is her top priority and something Ellis prides herself in.
When asked what’s next for B.Birdwatcher, Ellis shared that she will be rebranding her website soon and has recently started a podcast named GVO (Good Vibes Only) Podcast, where she’ll be sharing more about her passion for spiritual stones.
D.C. native turned Arlingtonian, Khadeejah Honesty is the creative behind Soultry Brand. After prematurely giving birth to her daughter and battling homelessness, Honesty turned to creating as a way of therapy and an opportunity to heal. During this time, she was introduced to aromatherapy, essential oils, and the importance of self-care. This inspired her to take a DIY approach to creating her own skincare items incorporating oils and natural elements. Although she began creating these skincare items for personal use, eventually she began gifting them to friends, which created interest in the sale of her creations. With a long career in retail management and some experience in the advertising world, Honesty decided to take a risk and quit her full-time job to pursue managing her own online business, now known as Soultry Brand.
Since starting Soultry Brand has also expanded to selling handmade polymer clay jewelry, uniquely designed by Honesty. As her business continues to grow and evolve, Honesty’s priority has always been exposing her young daughter, Zion, to the power of entrepreneurship and perseverance. Honesty also shares that the heart of Soultry Brand is to provide others with small joys that give them a confidence boost. She recognizes that some days something as simple as a compliment on a beautiful piece of jewelry can make a huge impact on someone’s self-image and happiness.
Author: Paola Fernandez