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Made in DC: 20 Local Businesses That Deserve Your Attention
Shop local and support these homegrown businesses that showcase DC’s creativity day after day
The best keepsake from a great vacation is a product or experience that truly embodies the city that you visited. With that mind, we’re featuring DC businesses that reflect the city’s entrepreneurial streak while producing a notable product. Each of these vendors are members of Made in DC, a local program meant to support and promote local DC businesses that design, make, produce and/or assemble products within the city.
Shop Made in DC is a brand new brick-and-mortar retail store in Dupont Circle exclusively featuring products from Made in DC businesses. Everything you see in the store is — you guessed it — crafted right here in Washington, DC from local artisans and makers. The boutique also features a cafe managed by Neighborhood Restaurant Group, where each item on the menu is made in the District.
Dolcezza’s signature gelato and expertly crafted coffee drinks have become a DC staple, as the local company now features five shops (including one in CityCenterDC) and also offers its goods at several farmers’ markets. Using local ingredients and hosting its own lab, Dolcezza is as authentically DC as it gets.
Located in Ivy City, Atlas Brew Works specializes in hand-crafted, artisanal beer, with its District Common brew considered one of the city’s most popular. Visiting Atlas’ Tap Room does not cost a cent, and you can purchase beer flights and pints while you’re there. Bring along your growler for a fill, and keep an eye on the brewery’s calendar for special, brew-centric events.
This Capitol Riverfront purveyor recently opened a second location near U Street. Ice Cream Jubilee rotates its creatively delicious flavors every season, so have an eye on the menu before you head in for a scoop (or two, or three, or four…..).
With two grocery stores in the city, Union Kitchen is now taking its awesome products and sustainable practices to the masses. Its kitchen makes delicious products, while its distribution company provides those products to nearly 200 retailers in the region. See what Union Kitchen is all about by visiting its newest locale on 9th Street NW in Shaw.
Inspired by a famous DC bootlegger of the 1920s (known as “The Man in the Green Hat”), Green Hat Gin is made by New Columbia Distillers, a family-owned business based in DC that started the craft distillery revolution in the nation’s capital. Their signature gin is crafted right here in the District, with several iterations available for purchase. Their website is also a great resource for creative cocktails, and the distillery is open for free tastings and tours from 1 – 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Two restaurant spaces comprise Daikaya, which is situated on 6th Street NW in Chinatown. The ground floor space serves as a ramen shop, serving the delicious dish Sapporo-style with savory broth, roasted vegetables, broth-soaked meats and of course, noodles. Upstairs, Izakaya holds it down with Japanese dishes and a drink menu that blends international and American flavors.
If you’re looking for coffee from a local institution and not that chain that everyone and their mother frequents, Compass Coffee is an ideal choice. With several locations in the District, Compass is dedicated to making simple and tasty coffee, from its espressos to its signature blends, all sourced with the freshest ingredients. Founded by two former Marines, the company is a DC success story written through an essential morning beverage.
Did you know that you can tour a chocolate factory during a trip to DC? Well, you do now. Harper Macaw, located on Bladensburg Road, offers tours every Saturday, and its products are featured all over the District. The company, founded by a Brazilian chocolate maker and a U.S. Marines veteran, uses cacao to make its chocolate, all part of an effort to assist in tropical reforestation. Not only is the chocolate delicious, but its production helps with a great cause, too.
iconsDC should be your go-to for the ultimate commemoration of a trip to the nation’s capital. Visit their website to find themed mementos and gifts, all that reflect the historical import of Washington, DC. The collectibles can match all kinds of decor, styles and audiences. iconsDC also offers custom designed gift boxes that are perfect for a special occasion.
Using DC’s international vibe as inspiration, District Doughnut prepares distinctive and inventive doughnut flavors that are sure to make your taste buds tingle. Eating just one of their many doughnut creations (which are often timely or seasonal) is next to impossible. Scoop up a dozen and call it a day – that’s how DC folks do it, anyway.
Capital Candy Jar serves up handmade candy confections that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Founder Dave Burton’s passion for treats comes through in his dazzling and delicious creations, which incorporate color and design to perfection. Grocery stores, gift shops and coffee shops across the District sell Capital Candy Jar products, but you can also order from a robust selection online.
Whether you’re in DC or back home, you’re always going to have stuff with you. Scout Bags is here to help with that. The local company creates bags and accessories with five things in mind: pattern (updated seasonally), function, durability, affordability and fun. Track down a store in the area or order online. Either way, you’ll be purchasing something cool from an innovative DC company.
Local ingredients and a whole lot of passion go into Bullfrog Bagels, a DC sensation that turns breakfast or lunch into a flavor explosion. Hand-rolled in small batches, boiled and baked in a traditional style, Bullfrog’s bagel creations are great for a solo meal on the run or for a large gathering (they’re catering experts). Top your bagel off with smoked salmon or seasoned corned beef or 12-day cured and smoked pastrami or … we could keep going, just know that options are plentiful and delicious.
Gourmet popcorn. Yep, you heard that right. Located in Petworth, Stella*s PopKern reimagines one of America’s favorite snacks by using non-GMO popcorn in its small batch flavors. Selections include inventive twists like black truffle with sea salt, cinnamon crunch salty caramel, white French chocolate cookies and cream and much more. Skip the movies and appreciate popcorn with flavor that truly pops.
The brilliant ceramic work of Camille Morin is responsible for the incredible pieces available from Belle Epoque Pottery. Using a special photo-copy transfer method, Morin creates unique and durable pottery, showcasing outstanding creativity and an array of colors and techniques. Peruse the online shop or reach out to request a custom-made piece.
Asian-style tacos? Sign us up. TaKorean started as a food truck and has now become a District favorite, with multiple locations in the city. Korean-style meats (including steak, chicken, pork and tofu) and a soft-corn tortilla make up your base, unless you want to roll with a slaw or rice bowl. Topping options are mouth-watering, including lime crema and salsa roja.
Founder and pastry chef Meredith Tomason lovingly creates all kinds of sweet treats at this CityCenterDC locale. You can choose from a range of seasonal offerings. Early fall includes specialties like yellow peach bourbon cake, oatmeal raisin ice cream, black cherry sorbet, coconut macaroon cookies and breakfast concoctions such as coffee cake and buttermilk biscuits with jam.
A gem in the food hub that is Union Market, Buffalo & Bergen serves knishes, bagels and bagel sandwiches made with flair, fun and flavor. Just check out the menu and the creativity jumps out at you, with options like The Well Dressed Reuben, Rude Socialist (bacon and maple pecan cream cheese) and When I Dip You Dip We Dip (pimento cheese and bagel chips).
Chicken ramen is the keyword at Bantam King, a stylish Japanese eatery on G Street NW. Housed inside what was once a Burger King, Bantam kept the funky colors and brought a whole lot of flavor, courtesy of Chef Katsuya Fukushima. Their authentic style of chicken-based ramen is accompanied by crispy fried chicken dishes and small plates with chicken as the centerpiece. You can also indulge in Shoyu or Miso-style ramen as well.
Now that you have explored made in DC businesses, check out the city’s eclectic neighborhoods.