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Arlington is known for its global dining scene and diverse community. Get a sampling of Arlington's neighborhoods by visiting these Black-owned eateries and learning about the stories of the resilient entrepreneurs behind them.
COVID-19 Update: The below businesses are open, but may only offer take-out, curbside pick-up or delivery. Please check their individual websites or social media pages for up-to-date information.
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 last fall 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. Stay tuned for their food truck launch in mid-October.
A hidden gem at Pentagon Row, Amore Congelato is also woman- and veteran-owned. When Thereasa Black, the owner, returned from deployment she was inspired by her young daughter to start her own business. Although she was ready to practice law, she couldn’t justify leaving her daughter for long hours, so Amore Congelato was born. This cozy, family-friendly gelato shop also serves crepes and hot chocolate. The creamy gelato is made with natural ingredients, so you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in a sweet treat. Stick with a classic like Milk Chocolate or try a fresh new flavor like Salted Caramel Pretzel. More irresistible flavors include Chocolate Espresso and Banana Pudding. Fun fact: Thereasa ate the banana pudding every day for a month straight when she first created it to make sure the taste was just right. You can’t go wrong with a crepe either, from cinnamon-sugar to pizza, there is a topping for everyone.
This community-centric coffee shop specializes in high-quality coffee. Sofonios and Mesfin come from Ethiopia, where coffee ceremony is an integral part of social and cultural life. In Ethiopia, an invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship or respect. 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.
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.