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 Tinybeans we aim to acknowledge and celebrate Black contributions daily. One of the ways to do that directly is by supporting Black-owned businesses. Here are just a few of the many wonderful Black-owned businesses in the DMV you can support now (and always) by shopping their family-friendly products and services.
In the City
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
Lee's Flower Shop
DC's oldest Black-owned flower shop has been arranging flowers since 1945 in the U St. Corridor. These florists specialize in modern and edgy arrangements, but the can make any floral vision come to life. In addition to flowers, they also sell chocolate and fruit gift baskets, plants and more. Insider tip: If you're looking to pick up your poesies in person, be sure to check out some must-see landmarks on U St. during Black History Month and every month. 1026 U St NW U St. Corridor Online: leesflowerandcard.com
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. Owner Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose brings her Cupcake Wars prowess and her love of science, travel and baking to create these delectable desserts.
404 8th Street SE
When a couple of DC Moms got tired of seeing only fair-skinned princesses and could not find many images portraying Black and Brown boys in positive ways they decided to do something about it. The result is Epic Everyday, a collection of backpacks, t-shirts, towels and more featuring kids in a range of mocha-hued skin tones and hair types. The “epic” in Epic Everyday stands for Empowered, Positive, Innovative, and Creative. When it comes time for the kids to buy new a new backpack, lunch box, towels or sheets look local first!
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
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.
Insider tip: Check the website for additional locations in VA and MD. A new location in Baltimore just opened.
2928 Georgia Ave.
Black Burn Center
2397 6th St. NW
Howard University Campus
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everlasting Life Restaurant
For almost 20 years, Baruch Ben-Yehudah has been serving up eclectic vegan soul food at Everlasting Life (ELife). It addition to dishing out healthy meals (Ben-Yehudah affectionally calls his establishment a hospirant (a hospital/restaurant) in honor of the restaurant's devotion to the communities nutritional needs), he also regularly donates massive amounts of free food to those in need.
Crowd favorites include two types of mac and cheese (cashew and soy), curried maple drumsticks, jerk “chicken,” and more. On weekends, brunch items 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.
Insider tip: Check ELife's Facebook page for upcoming events. The restaurant hosts comedy nights, sip & paint parties and more.
9185 Central Ave., Ste A
Capitol Heights, MD
—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Guiomar Ochoa