Want to deepen your impact on small businesses? Support these Black-owned businesses in Alexandria and align with the Black Lives Matter movement to #supportblackbusinesses today, tomorrow and beyond. Explore our non-exhaustive list of restaurants, retail, beauty and wellness businesses, and see how owners described their operations to us. Keep reading for inspiration on where to grab your next cup of coffee, get a hair refresh or upgrade your yoga game.
Note: Please be sure to check each business’s mask policy before entering an establishment.
Restaurants and Cafés
Abyssinia Market & Coffee House
Abyssinia Market & Coffee House is a Black woman-owned and operated café in South Old Town. Owner Lily Damtew and her team specialize in locally-roasted Ethiopian yergacheffe coffee, a large selection of craft beer and wine from all over the world and more.
Must-Try Order: Espresso drinks and pastries
Café du Soleil
Café du Soleil is French-inspired café with an excellent assortment of coffee drinks, pastries and classic French-style dishes that customers can enjoy in a friendly, cozy, inviting and casual atmosphere on S. Union Street.
Must-Try Dishes: Outside of the coffee, Café du Soleil’s crêpes are the crowd favorites. The top crêpes include the ham, egg and cheese, smoked salmon and quiche Lorraine varieties.
Tucked inside Cameron Station, Cameron Café is a local coffee shop and café that brings together residents of the West End to celebrate life’s moments while they caffeinate. Their ample outdoor seating is the perfect setting to sip, savor and socialize after an amble through nearby Ben Brenman Park.
Must-Try Drinks: Double Macchiato and Latte Frappe
Common Plate Hospitality
Wondering who’s behind Old Town favorites like Augie’s Mussel House and Beer Garden, Mason Social and Urbano 116? Common Plate Hospitality, co-owned by Larry Walston and Chad Sparrow, blends both innovative architectural design, creative culinary offerings and craft bar programs to create a full experience for their guests. Sample mussels while sipping one of 70 brews at Augie’s, dig into a sweet or savory brunch at Mason Social and enjoy a sangria with ceviche at Urbano 116.
Augie’s Must-Try Dishes: 10 mouth-watering mussel flavors, or Augie’s cheesesteak paired with a seasonal beer
Mason Social’s Must-Try Dishes: Mason Fried Chicken with a Parker Grey Cocktail
Urbano 116’s Must-Try Dishes: Grilled steak & chicken fajitas with a top shelf margarita—home of the only 56oz. Margarita!
Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats
Old Town’s latest sweet spot is Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, a 1950s-inspired soda fountain serving legendary Wisconsin-style frozen custard and nostalgic treats from Commerce Street’s historic Ice House. Owner Brandon Byrd (pictured above) debuted the brick-and-mortar space in late spring 2021, and he and his team serve up decadent desserts from 12 to 6 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays.
Must-Try Dishes: Apple Cider Donutwich and Turtle Pecan Sundae
Haute Dogs & Fries
Founded in 2009 by co-owners Lionel Holmes and Pamela Swanson, Haute Dogs & Fries offers a fresh take on the American classic—hot dogs! Their signature hot dogs are 100% beef, grilled and tucked inside toasty New England split-top buns. Haute Dogs consciously sources their ingredients locally and uses local vendors to give back to the community.
Must-Try Dishes: The Bombshell (topped with mango-pineapple relish, sautéed onions and fresh jalapeños) or the Banh Mi Dog, inspired by the Vietnamese sandwich.
Magnolia’s On King
Situated in the middle of Old Town Alexandria in the three-story historic home with ties to Alexandria’s slaveholding past, Magnolia’s On King today offers a haven for high quality Southern cuisine with one-of-a-kind, vegan and vegetarian meals. Magnolia’s On King is owned and operated by Leonard Holton (pictured above), a local Old Town sommelier and restaurateur.
Must-Try Dishes: Shrimp and grits, country-fried chicken and the Nashville hot fried mushroom sandwich
Located in the heart of Old Town on King Street, Hen Quarter is owned and operated by Thompson Hospitality, which is the nation’s largest minority-owned food and facilities management company. Hen Quarter is driven by the power of the table and the belief that time is best spent enjoying crave-able food and delicious drinks with friends and family. Hen Quarter specializes in Southern fare, fried chicken and their favorite…brunch!
Must-Try Dish: Hen Quarter’s new family-style bottomless brunch menu for $25.95 per person. Select as many menu items as you’d like for an endlessly delicious weekend.
Also a part of Thompson Hospitality (and located on the ground floor of Hen Quarter), The Rub is inspired by a true love for fried chicken and beer, paired with the ethos that eating out or in, or on-the-go, should feel like a fun backyard party with delicious food, ice-cold drinks and good friends.
Must-Try Dish: The Krispy Chicken Collab, piled high with fried chicken, “Carolina Reaper” hot honey, mustard coleslaw and pickle chips atop a custom doughnut bun made in collaboration with GoodCo. Dough. Pair the “sando” with a refreshing “Margarita in a ’Mingo” (pictured above).
Duck into a picturesque courtyard on Cameron Street and discover donna lewis, celebrating its 20th anniversary in Old Town. Known for the timeless beauty and quality of its fabrics, style and fit, this charming boutique specializes in European luxury clothing, shoes and accessories for women and men.
Best-Selling Item: None! The boutique’s inventory is one-of-a-kind, so you will leave with a completely customized look.
Harambee Books & Artworks
Prince Street’s Harambee Books & Artworks, owned by Bernard Reaves, is Northern Virginia’s only Black-owned bookstore. Named after the Swahili word for “working together,” Harambee’s mission is to promote literacy education as a fundamental human right for all. Come and browse a unique selection of books and hard-to-find classic literature by and about people of African descent, plus exclusive artworks and fashionable apparels. Additionally, explore Harambee’s educational resources, reading programs and community-based events.
Customers love browsing classics like James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and newer titles like Cicely Tyson’s memoir, Just As I Am, as well as discovering niche small press and independently published works.
Helmed by former Obama administration attorney Nicole McGrew (pictured above), Threadleaf is an independent boutique focused on fashion-forward clothing and accessories that are responsibly made with respect for our environment, suppliers and customers.
Best-Selling Item: Dresses. Threadleaf is especially known for carrying a variety of dresses with pockets.
Manumission Tour Company
Founded by Alexandria City Councilman John T. Chapman (pictured above), Manumission Tour Company provides guided walking tours that explore the experiences of African Americans in early Alexandria, from the Underground Railroad to the successes of free Black individuals in antebellum Alexandria.
Most Surprising Tour Site: The historic home at 505 Cameron Street, whose ordinary façade belies the fascinating stories of Oscar and Joseph Ball, who lived in the home and ran away to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
Salons and Beauty Spots
Allure Hair Loft
Terry Coullette, (pictured above), master barber and owner of Allure Hair Loft, describes his operation as the definition of modern grooming with an old school foundation. When clients visit Allure Hair Loft, they receive the highest level of grooming services in a relaxing, modern environment.
The “Classic Men’s Haircut,” comprised of seamless fading and accurate lining, and the custom “Hair Toupee,” an old service with a modern twist.
Elle Hair Studio
Looking for hair care ranging from to ombré or balayage to loc maintenance? Make an appointment at Elle Hair Studio, a private boutique hair salon located right outside of Old Town.
Envy Us Beauty Supply
Find all your beauty needs at Envy Us Beauty Supply, owner Aesha Ray’s (pictured above) S. Van Dorn St. shop specializing in hair care, skin care, cosmetics, hair extensions and accessories with a large selection of Black-owned beauty brands.
Most popular products: Vast selection of Black-owned beauty brands
Good Brows is a luxury brow boutique dedicated to precision brow shaping and permanent makeup. Let owner Simone Fennell (pictured above) demonstrate the game-changing power of well-shaped brows.
Hazel O. Salon
Named in homage to the grandmother of owners Marcia Rhodes Tyler and Nikita Montgomery (pictured above), Hazel O. Salon is the quintessential urban beauty oasis servicing all hair types. Clients are treated to a sleek, sophisticated interior and staff experienced in styling a vast range of hair types and textures.
Joi Dreams Salon
Joi Dreams Salon, operated by the namesake stylist and barber (pictured above), has serviced a diverse clientele in Alexandria for more than 11 years. Located on Del Ray’s Mount Vernon Avenue, Joi Dreams Salon is a little salon with big personality, run by a stylist who loves what she does and the people she serves.
Owner and Stylist Leon Howell (pictured above) describes Salon Alexander as a diverse salon with a diverse clientele to match. Visit for a friendly face and leave with a fresh style.
The Ultimate Barber
The team at The Ultimate Barber in Potomac Yard have built their reputation on consistency and reliability. Visit for a haircut at the barbershop voted the city and region’s “Best Men’s Haircut” and “Best Barbershop” since 2012 by Northern Virginia Magazine, Virginia Living Magazine and The Zebra Press.
Wellness and Fitness Studios
Make No Excuses Fitcamp
Make No Excuses Fitcamp is a boutique gym that focuses on improving movement patterns and increasing one’s quality of life through proper training procedures. Owner Remi Rory’s gym is known for providing personalized attention and individualized programming.
Most popular service: One-on-one training sessions
PIES Fitness Yoga Studio
PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, a safe haven of community in Alexandria’s West End owned by Marsha Banks-Harold, thrives in offering compassionate, inclusive and personable service to welcome and support all beings on their wellness journey. From Zumba to belly dancing to yoga for all bodies, PIES’ classes provide a positive setting to sweat it out.
“My Body Don’t Bend That Way,” PIES’ flagship class featuring customized yoga poses, an open and laughter-filled environment and an abundance of support.
Sunflowers Healing and Wellness
Navigate the peaks and valleys of life with compassionate guidance and custom life tools from Sunflowers Healing and Wellness. Owner and founder Lindsey Vick (pictured above) invites you work with her team of practitioners for proven tools to affect all areas of life, from relationships to careers to birth and more. Located in Del Ray and providing services virtually, Sunflowers Healing and Wellness offers hypnotherapy, reiki, life coaching and an array of childbirth support services.
Looking to revamp your fitness routine? Trident Athletics, owned by Chriss and Andrea Smith (pictured above), is made up of a diverse team of more than 25 passionate, committed and dynamic trainers who love nothing more than changing people’s lives through fitness. Trident’s trainers pride themselves on their extensive knowledge and experience but are most proud of their ability to connect with and motivate their clients.
Delve deeper into Alexandria’s Black history and culture here.
To request the addition of your Black-owned business, contact the author at [email protected]. The operation must be visitor-facing, including restaurants, shops, salons and fitness studios, and located within the City of Alexandria.
Image Credits Sarah Marcella Photography and Old Town Boutique District (left and right); Cameron Café (center)
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