- 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.
Family-owned and operated, Good Company Doughnuts & Café is a warm and inviting café specializing in mouth-watering doughnuts. The hand-cut doughnuts are baked fresh every day and you can find the shop’s beautiful assortments all over social media. 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 coffee pairs perfectly with one of the breakfast sandwiches on homemade bread. You can't go wrong with the soup, salad, and sandwiches menu, which covers all the classics. Rotating café specials spice up the tasty menu with compelling dishes like Aleppo lamb, Brisket taco, and Spicy Garlic Shrimp & Bucatini.
The brainchild of two former U.S. Marines, Compass Coffee, has one goal: good coffee. Their slogan, "real good coffee," is written on every aromatic cup and is recognizable throughout the Washington, D.C., area. During their 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. Highlights from the coffee menu include the nitro cold brew and vanilla lattes. Compass also serves a limited breakfast on-the-go menu that sells out quickly, but 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.
A newcomer to 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 is a must-try. This Black-owned business has people traveling far and wide for the sweet and savory gourmet corn. Owner, Vince, 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.
This cozy, family-friendly gelato shop serves heavenly gelato made with natural ingredients. Owner, Thereasa Black, was destined to own her own business but was never sure what that business would be. The last thing Thereasa ate with her daughter before her deployment was ice cream, and her daughter continued to ask for ice cream throughout her deployment. When Thereasa returned from deployment, she was inspired by her young daughter to start her own business. Although the natural next step was for Thereasa to follow her education and practice law, she couldn't justify leaving her daughter for long hours. She thought about the ice cream they shared, and Amore Congelato was born. The natural sweeteners and healthy alternatives make this gelato a non-guilty pleasure. Irresistible flavors include Salted Caramel Pretzel, Chocolate Espresso, and Thereasa's favorite, Banana Pudding. Cool-weather treats are sold as well, including sweet and savory crepes and hot chocolate.
Header Image Photo Credit: @gordonklau-IG