- Things to Do
- Restaurants & Nightlife
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Arlington is best known as the home of Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and several other famous military memorials and monuments. As host of the Marine Corps Marathon, Army Ten-Miler, and Armed Forces Cycling Classic, Arlington has an enduring connection with the military.
As a result, many veterans have chosen to make Arlington their home and start businesses in their community. These veteran-owned businesses excel at what they do and are staples in Arlington’s neighborhoods. We also have Veteran-affiliated organizations that offer the opportunity to support service members while shopping for special gifts and souvenirs.
Family-owned and operated, Good Company Doughnuts & Café is a warm and inviting café specializing in fresh, hand-cut doughnut that have locals lining up outside on weekend mornings. Good Company is owned and operated by brother-sister duo Charles and Kate, Melissa (Charles’s wife), and close family friend, Tim. When Charles settled in Northern Virginia, he immediately noticed a need for a neighborhood all-day café. Charles and Kate had always dreamed of going into business together and following in their late father’s footsteps. After Charles’s second deployment to Afghanistan, he finally convinced Kate and his wife Melissa to open their dream café. Melissa, who served the Dept. of Defense for 14 years, discovered a talent and passion for baking. The final founder, Tim Terry, spent more than 23 years as a Navy Mustang and now loves serving the Arlington community.
Good Company’s warm and comforting menu offers a lot more than just doughnuts. For breakfast, a cozy cup of Intelligentsia coffee pairs perfectly with one of the breakfast sandwiches on homemade bread or a protein bowl with eggs and veggies. Kids will find a lot to love too, including apple slices with house-made caramel sauce and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.
The brainchild of two former U.S. Marines, Compass Coffee has one goal: good coffee. Its slogan, "real good coffee," is written on every aromatic cup and is recognizable throughout the Washington, D.C., area. During their military service, the owners relied on coffee as an essential source of energy, and it steadily developed into a ritual. After returning from deployment, they channeled their focus into providing coffee that is strong, flavorful and just plain good. Compass opened its first location in D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood and has quickly expanded throughout the region with two locations in Arlington (Ballston and Rosslyn).
Highlights from the coffee menu include the nitro cold brew and honey turmeric lattes, as well as a variety of seasonal offerings. Compass also serves a limited breakfast on-the-go menu that sells out quickly, and the vegan blueberry muffins are worth the early morning hustle. For those that can't get enough of the coffee, Compass sells all nine of its unique blends in-store and offers various refill programs.
Tucked away inside Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Shuck Shack has quickly made a big splash in the area. Serving locally sourced, fresh, made-to-order corn with delicious seasonings, Shuck Shack has people traveling far and wide for the sweet and savory gourmet corn. The owner grew up in a military family and began his military service through ROTC at Howard University. Among other duties, he served as a Logistics Officer, as well as a Basic Training Officer at Fort Jackson. After his service and 22 years at Microsoft, Vince began actively pursuing his goal of owning his own business, never realizing it would be corn. After hearing guests at a birthday party rave about this corn, he tried it and decided it lived up to the hype. Fast-forward a few years, and Vince brought Shuck Shack to Arlington, offering Mexican Street Corn, Old Bay seasonings, and the Classic: sweet butter, salt & pepper. Shuck Shack just launched a food truck for catering and small groups.
While not a traditional business, the proceeds from the gift shop at the Military Women’s Memorial at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery support rotating exhibits and programming at the museum. The shop’s merchandise is varied and engaging. From servicewomen dolls representing branches of the military, to stunning lapel pins created by designer Ann Hand, the store stocks a variety of treasures their loved ones will cherish. Choose from clothing, jewelry, children’s items, books and seasonal items — like the cherry blossom collection — unique keepsakes that will commemorate your visit to Arlington and the nation’s capital. While you’re there, ask to accompany a docent on a tour through the Memorial to learn stories of heroism made by women in uniform.
Author: Renee Sklarew