The Washington Wizards Black-Owned DMV video series highlights the importance of Black-Owned businesses in our community. This Black History Month, the Wizards will integrate six local Black-Owned businesses into our game day presentation and share interviews dedicated to each business's story. This year, as our nation struggles with the impact of this global pandemic and racial injustice, it's especially important to recognize the immense legacy that Black-Owned businesses in our own backyard have had and will continue to have.
Founders: Ben and Virginia Ali
- The Original*
1213 U St NW Washington, DC 20009
- H Street*
1001 H St NE Washington, DC 20002
- FedEx Field
1600 FedEx Way Hyattsville, MD 20785 Sections 341 & 420
- Reagan National Airport
1 Aviation Cir Arlington, VA, 20002
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
1525 Russell St, Baltimore, MD 21230 First Level - Baltimore Marketplace
- Nats Park
1500 S Capitol St SE Washington, DC 20003 Sections 109, 140 & 315
*Location is Open
In 1958, newlyweds Ben and Virginia Ali used $5,000 to begin renovating a building at 1213 U Street. Built in 1910, it first housed a silent movie house called the Minnehaha Theater. Later, Harry Beckley, one of D.C.'s first Black police detectives, converted it into a pool hall.
On August 22, 1958, Ben's Chili Bowl opened for business. The street (U Street) was then known nationally as "Black Broadway" and Washington D.C. was still segregated. But all were always welcome at Ben's. From the burning and looting of the 1968 race riots to the tough times in the 70's and 80's and finally to the revitalization of the U Street Corridor beginning in the 90's, Ben's has seen and survived it all. Thousands attended our 50th anniversary celebration in August 2008 and our 60th in August 2018. And just ten days before his inauguration on January 10, 2009, President-Elect Barack Obama visited and ate lunch here.
After a 60+ year journey, the Ben's brand is red hot and is a must-visit restaurant for anyone visiting Washington. Ben's has also expanded by opening its first new restaurant and bar called Ben's Next Door in 2008, in addition to outposts at the Nationals baseball Stadium and FedEx Field. In 2014, Ben’s opened their third location in Rosslyn, VA, and one year later opened a Ben's Chili Bowl on H ST in NE and also at Reagan National Airport. In 2019, Ben's Chili Bowl opened at Capital One Arena.
Founders/Co-Owners: Darryl, Andrea, Brianna and Brittany Jones, and Lena Norman/ Family Owned
- 1142 Maine Avenue Southwest Washington, DC 20024
The Southwest Soda Pop Shop is a family owned and operated business serving sweet treats and refreshing drinks to guests at the District Wharf in Southwest Washington, D.C. Owner, Darryl Jones, has been a staple of Washington D.C. food service industry since 1977 beginning his career at the Meat Company in the historic shops at Eastern Market. After 17 years of service, Jones accepted a management position at the Virgo Fish House at the Southwest Waterfront where he would later become part-owner.
In 2015 as plans to renovate and expand the Wharf began to take shape, Jones like others, was faced with a tough decision as bigger brand name companies set their sights on the popular waterfront destination. Jones held on to a small piece of property with the vision of launching a family business, establishing a legacy for his four daughters. In May 2018 the Southwest Soda Pop Shop opened it's window for service. Jones' daughters, Brittany, Brianna, Andrea and Lena are all vital parts to the success of the shop. On any given day at least two if not all four of the sisters are there to greet customers with a smile and top-notch service. It is truly a family business that looks forward to serving you.
Founders/Co-Owners: Angela Jennings and Reggie Smith
- 1221 Van St SE, Suite 140, Washington, District of Columbia 20003
Reggie and Angela founded BOOMBOX on their love for boxing, music and community. Their goal is simple, to empower and inspire, while making the health benefits of boxing-inspired training accessible to all fitness levels and backgrounds. BOOMBOX is a growing fitness community founded on a love for music, boxing and teamwork. Our mission is to empower others and inspire, while making the health benefits of boxing-inspired training accessible to all.
BOOMBOX is a full blown experience that will stimulate your senses while building confidence and lean muscle. Their 50-minute, music-driven, cardio and resistance workouts combine bouts of shadowboxing, Aqua bag work, and functional training, and will leave you feeling like a champion! Never tried boxing before? No problem. Their classes are suitable for beginners and experienced boxers alike. You'll learn techniques to move, punch and defend, while burning a ton of calories and blowing off steam.
"Our mission is to empower and inspire, while making the health benefits of boxing-inspired training accessible to all fitness levels and backgrounds." — BOOMBOX BOXING
Founders/Co-Owners: LeGreg Harrison & Muhammad Hill
- 2014 Rhode Island Ave NE Washington, DC 20018
The Museum is a premium boutique that caters to enthusiasts who use fashion and art as sources of inspiration. Our boutique is designed as an art gallery which allows the curation of popular culture through elegance and design. The Museum retail experience offers apparel, footwear, collectible goods and artwork from the most coveted brands and artists around the world. The Museum epitomize quality and exclusivity through a vision of excellence and distinction.
Founder/Owner: Angel Anderson
- 6902 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20012
The SpiceSuite is the culminating vision of owner Angel Anderson's love of good food and people. The SpiceSuite is an interactive spice bar which features unique infused cooking oils and spice blends. Staying true to the motto "food is fashion", Angel mixes spices and herbs that may not seem to match and makes spice ensembles that inspire chefs and home cooks alike. The SpiceSuite carries spices and herbs from around the world with an ever-changing selection based on the handpicked blends we receive often. The space is available, free of charge to small business owners who want to host pop up shops for products that are handmade or uniquely sourced. No fine print. No commission. This is Angela's way of paying it forward and supporting fellow dreamers.
Angel is a mother, home cook, activist and educator with a knack for blurring the line between food and fashion. In 2015, she walked by a vacant store front with no plan or desire to be a small business owner and decided on the spot to turn it into a spice shop. That spice shop has become a dream incubator and haven. Having hosted over 450 free pop up shops for black business owners, this space has become a DC staple for this DC native. Her love for fashionable flavors and natural talent in the kitchen landed her a spot in the Top 40 of MasterChef's Season 8. Since then, Angel has regularly made appearances in local news and print media. Angel brings gourmet, exotic and tantalizing spices, infused oils and other culinary delights to customers in a hip, quaint and comfortable, atmosphere. The aesthetics and energy at The SpiceSuite mirror Angel's home—welcoming, engaging and fun!
Founder: Henry E. Smith
Co-Business Owners: Jermaine Smith, Henrietta Smith and Bernard Books Jr.
Established Since: 1968
- 5431 Indianhead HWY, Oxon Hill, MD 20745.
Oxon Hill Menu
- 1704 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009.
U Street Menu
Henry's Soul Café, Home of the Sweet Potato Pie is known for it's fine southern cooking and sweet potato pie. A tradition that was originally founded and established by Henry E. Smith in February 1968 in Washington DC as Henry's Deli Carryout. Henry's vision was to provide the best quality food at the most economical prices.
The small carryout quickly made a big name for itself amongst the community and was soon serving all of Washington DC, including catering to large businesses and Washington's elite. In 1997, almost 30 years later the family legacy was brought to a new and exciting plateau when Henry's son, Jermaine Smith, and his business partner Bernard Brooks, Jr, opened the doors of the Popular Henry's Soul Café in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
The new offspring proved to be a success, with seating and expansion into Maryland. They increased the catering operation and sweet potato pie production to heights that Mr. Henry had always imagined. It wasn't long after that Henry's daughter; Henrietta Smith joined the team as partner/owner to help the business in its quest to keep the tradition alive.
With a wide variety of menu items that are available on a daily basis "cooked to order", is what sets apart Henry's Soul Café from other soul food restaurants across the nation. While serving the demands of the daily carry out customers was the primary focus for the business, consistent requests for catering services have provided the owners with an even greater opportunity to serve the community.
Other Black-Owned DMV Businesses
Washington D.C., Maryland and Virgina have an incredible variety of Black-Owned businesses that can always use your support. Your support can come in many ways. Shop at these businesses and recommended them to your family and friends. Following them on social media and comment, like, or share their posts.
The links below can assist you on your search to support local Black-Owned businesses and other around the world.
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