Emily Leayman,Patch Staff
Posted Fri, Feb 12, 2021 at 4:21 pm ET
Dolce & Bean won the 2021 Heart of Del Ray award as determined by a public vote. (Courtesy of Del Ray Business Association)
ALEXANDRIA, VA — Dolce & Bean has won the Del Ray Business Association's 2021 Heart of Del Ray award.
The business association gives the award annually to the business residents feel captures the "heart and soul" of the Del Ray neighborhood as determined by a public vote. A business can only win the award once.
The Del Ray Business Association presented the heart-shaped award on Friday to owner Petros Ghebre-Egziabher, who opened Dolce & Bean in 2017.
"It's overwhelming — I'm so humbled by this award," said Ghebre-Egziabher. "I'd like to express my love to this community that has welcomed me and supported me." Residents were asked to nominate businesses for the award before the business association named finalists and opened voting. During the nomination process, residents cited Ghebre-Egziabher's warm and welcoming spirit during the nomination process.
"Petros is the nicest, most welcoming business owner — he always greets guests with a smile!" one nominator said. "His spirit, even throughout COVID, has put a smile on my face, as well as lightened up the community atmosphere."
Another nominator said, "He takes the time to get to know all of his customers and has fostered a culture in his store of exactly what I think of when I think of the word 'community.'"
Courtesy of Del Ray Business Association
Over 1,400 people voted in the 2021 Heart of Del Ray contest. The other finalists were Del Ray Psych & Wellness, Rock Of Ages Music, Rosemont Landscaping & Lawncare, St. Elmo's Coffee Pub and Stomping Ground. "The things that people said about Dolce & Bean are exactly what this award was made for — where do you go, when you walk in, that warms your heart," said Del Ray Business Association board member Gayle Reuter. "That's exactly what people said about Petros. Over and over, people said how welcoming he is, how he knows the kids' names, and that's really what makes a community."
Past winners of the award are A Show of Hands, Jen Walker of McEnearney Associates, Bobi Bomar Homes of Alexandria, The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray, Greener Cleaner of Del Ray, Del Ray Pizzeria, Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga, Caboose Cafe, Del Ray Cafe, Pork Barrel BBQ/Holy Cow/the sushi bar, Taqueria Poblano, and Ms. Preeti's 7-Eleven.