12 Black-Owned Businesses To Support Now & Always

Read next

It’s Black History Month, and while it’s a great reminder to celebrate Black lives and their historical contributions during the month of Feb., here at Red Tricycle we aim to acknowledge and celebrate Black contributions daily. One of the ways to do that directly is by supporting Black-owned businesses, many of which have already been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Here are just a few of the many wonderful Black-owned businesses in the DMV you can support NOW (and always) by shopping their kid-friendly products and services.

Ruby Scoops Ice Cream & Treats

This sweet shop, owned by chef Rabia Kamara, scoops up small batch ice creams, sorbets and sherbets. This month they are celebrating Black inventors who changed the landscape of the food industry. First up was Alfred L. Cralle, the creator of the ice cream mold and disher, a revolutionary ice cream scoop that let you scoop and serve with one hand. Stop in to try their premium flavors. New this month is a fresh, new creative flavor: grapefruit tarragon!  You'll also find vegan options at this shop, each blend includes house-made oat milk. 

1110 Congress St NE
H Street Corridor
Online: rubyscoops.com

Ben's Chili Bowl

Support this legendary landmark and you'll be treating yourself to a piece of history on a bun! Sink your teeth into the half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl and you will be savoring perhaps the only food native to DC. It’s half pork-half beef and topped with a heaping of chili sauce. A longtime local favorite, the U Street location has been around since the 1950s, and even counts celebrities as fans, including and Barack Obama. 

1213 U St NW
U St./Cardoza
Online: benschilibowl.com

Everlasting Life Restaurant

For almost 20 years, Baruch Ben-Yehudah has been serving up eclectic vegan soul food at Everlasting Life (ELife). Crowd favorites include two types of mac and cheese (cashew and soy), curried maple drumsticks, jerk chicken, and more. On weekends, brunch items span tofu scramble, organic corn grits and whole wheat pancakes. If you or your tot is undecided, feel free to ask the friendly staff for samples

9185 Central Ave., Ste A
Capitol Heights, MD
Online: facebook.com/ELifeRestaurant

NuVegan Cafe

Founded by Vernon Woodland, plant-based NuVegan offers soul-inspired comfort foods and has become a favorite staple with District vegans. Their juice bar churns out delicious smoothies, and who doesn’t love fried chicken and collard greens? Favorites like the Garvey burger, “chicken” drummies with homemade honey mustard, and vegan lasagna get cheers all round. These laid back locations have speedy service; the Columbia Heights location is spacious enough to accommodate families.

2928 Georgia Ave.
Columbia Heights

Black Burn Center
2397 6th St. NW
Howard University Campus

8150 Baltimore Ave.
College Park, MD
Online: nuvegancafe.com

Puppet Heaven

Puppet Heaven is a unique store that appeals to children and the young at heart. Owner Alban Odoulamy has been selling puppets and his artwork in Crystal City for decades. Alban hails from Benin, where he was formally trained in marionette puppetry and created set designs for children's television programs. The store is dedicated to keeping the art of puppeteering alive. You will find a variety of hand, finger, marionette, and shadow puppets from all over the world. 

1750 Crystal Dr.
Arlington, VA
Online: facebook.com/Puppet-Heaven

photo: IStock

Strength To Love II

Strength 2 Love Farm II: This West Baltimore farm works to combat food deserts while also creating job opportunities. The vacant plot-turned-working farm primarily grows leafy greens, as well as okra, peppers, cucumbers, squash, radishes, beets, and flowers. They offer fresh, nutritious, great tasting produce at competitive prices to diverse retail, restaurant, institutional, and individual customers. For a list of regional Farmers Markets where you can pick up their produce, go here

2701 Saint Lo Dr.
Baltimore, MD
Online: farmalliancebaltimore.org

Ididos Coffee and Social House

Looking for a way to start your morning in Arlington?  Check out Ididos Coffee and Social House . The cafe offers a variety of coffee and espresso drinks, as well as breakfast pastries, sandwiches, and salads. According to its website, its namesake comes from “the Gedeo area of Yirgacheffee, Ethiopia, a region that is known for producing clean bright washed coffees dominated by citrus flavor.”

1107 S. Walter Reed Dr.
Arlington, VA
Online: ididossocialhouse.com

photo: Ivy's Tea Co. Website

Ivy's Tea Co.

Not a coffee drinker, but still need a caffeinated kick in the morning? Ivy's Tea Co. is a MD based pop culture and Hip-Hop inspired holistic tea company. Owned and operated by first-generation herbalist  Shanae Jones, she aims to introduce African holistic health remedies into the holistic health industry. Her goal is to make the industry as inclusive and reflective and accepting of all cultures as Hip-Hop. 

Online: ivystea.com/collections/tea

photo: Wilma's Batter Website

Wilma's Batter

Wilma’s Pancake and Waffle Batter was introduced to owner, Tamara Cole, by her grandmother, Wilma M. Hodge.  Wilma's passion was creating exquisite southern cuisine.  It was a true expression of her genuine love for her family and friends.  Throughout Tamara’s life, she spent many hours learning her grandmother’s cooking techniques and recipes.  While Wilma passed away in 2002, Tamara continues to practice and master several recipes (for family and friends) as a way of paying homage to her grandmother. Today, Tamara spreads her grandmother's joy of cooking at Bowie based, Wilma's Batter where she makes pancake batters in different flavors with all natural ingredients!

8309 Old Branch Ave.
Clinton, MD
Online: wilmasbatter.com

photo: iStock

Mahogany Books

Mahogany Books started in 2007 as an online bookstore specializing in books written for, by, or about people of the African diaspora. In 2017,  it opened its first physical location in Washington, DC. in Anacostia. Created by husband and wife team, Derrick and Ramunda Young, they started it as a result for their love for culture, community and literature and their desire to see it empower others as it has empowered them. 

1231 Good Hope Rd. SE
Online: https://www.mahoganybooks.com/

Roaming Rooster

Roaming Rooster provides quality comfort food that customers feel good about eating. Their biggest motivator is making people happy. Whether it's during lunch hour on one of their food trucks or at a private event, excellent customer service is a huge part of their daily routine. Roaming Rooster's recipes are sure to spark an appetite in every lover of fried chicken, just follow the white truck with a red rooster, or visit their food truck schedules to see exactly where you can taste what everyone's talking about.

3176 Bladensburg Rd NE
(202) 507-8734
Online: roamingroosterdc.com

photo: Sweet Lobby

The Sweet Lobby

The Sweet Lobby, based on Capitol Hill's Barracks Row, is known for both its classic as well as its globally inspired flavor incarnations and specializes in French macarons, madeleines, éclairs, shortbread, canelés and more. Within months of opening in 2012, owner Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose won Food Network's vastly popular show, Cupcake Wars. Winnette is a self-taught pastry chef who combines her love of science, travel and baking to create delectable desserts.

404 8th Street SE
Capitol Hill
Online: sweetlobby.com

—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Guiomar Ochoa


22 Black Heroes Our Kids Should Know By Name

21 Places to Visit to Understand Race in America

9 Organizations to Support Black Women, Children & Transpeople