The Del Ray Business Association presented Dolce & Bean with the 2021 "Heart of Del Award" on Feb. 12. The annual award, given to the business that represents the heart and soul of Del Ray, is determined by a public vote of neighbors and customers.
"It's overwhelming – I'm so humbled by this award," said Petros Ghebre-Egziabher, who opened Dolce & Bean on Mount Vernon Avenue in 2017. "I'd like to express my love to this community that has welcomed me and supported me."
Online voting for the award took place earlier this month, with several voters leaving comments praising the business.
"The things that people said about Petros and Dolce & Bean are exactly what this award was made for,” said DRBA board member Gayle Reuter. “Over and over, people said how welcoming he is, how he knows the kids' names, and that's really what makes a community.”
Added DRBA president Lauren Fisher, "Petros’ caring and welcome nature makes you feel like you are his favorite customer each time you visit."
More than 1,400 people participated in the online voting. Past winners of the award include 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 7-11. A business cannot win the award multiple years.
"Petros is the nicest, most welcoming business owner,” said one patron. “His spirit, even throughout Covid, has put a smile on my face, as well as lightened up the community atmosphere."