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Made in DC: 15 Homegrown Businesses That Deserve Your Attention
Shop local and support these 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.
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 (which will reopen this spring) in the Union Market neighborhood, Dolcezza is as authentically DC as it gets.
This DC-based brewery helped invigorate the craft beer craze in the District, becoming the first brewery in more than 60 years to sport a product that is available in local stores and on tap outside of its own place of production. However, DC Brau’s digs are well worth a trip – free tours are held every Saturday.
Capitol Riverfront’s purveyor of everyone’s favorite treat should be abuzz as warm weather rolls into DC and the Washington Nationals take up residence at nearby Nationals Park (they also 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.
Named after Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution (which provided for the establishment of a district to be the nation’s capital), One Eight Distilling crafts spirits “from grain to glass” right here in DC. The company’s three signature spirits are sold throughout DC, and you can also purchase bottles at One Eight’s tasting room. Tours of the distillery are offered every Saturday and by appointment.
Sporting a sleek 1940s vibe, District ChopHouse & Brewery serves as a friendly neighborhood locale in the heart of Penn Quarter. Order up a handcrafted beer from their in-house brewery and savor its menu of American classics including steak and seafood. You can also enjoy a game of pool before or after you take in a game or performance at the nearby Verizon Center.
Located within walking distance of Nationals Park in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, Bluejacket Brewery allows beer lovers to sample experimental brews made on-site. The popular brewery, founded by Greg Engert (who’s also responsible for Birch & Barley/Churchkey), features a rotating selection of 20 beers and five cask ales along with an all-American food menu at its adjacent restaurant, Arsenal.
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 décor, 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.
Founded in DC in 2006 by pastry chef Gianluigi Dellacio, Dolci Gelati provides sweet and refreshing gelato of the highest quality. Journey to the emerging Shaw neighborhood (there are also locations in Takoma Park and Old Town Alexandria) to experience Dolci Gelati’s artisan take on an Italian classic, with ingredients including hand-chosen fruits, fine chocolate from Ecuador and milk from nearby dairy farms.
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.
Riide wants to change the way you get around. The local company offers electric bikes at a rate of $79 per month, which includes theft insurance and unlimited maintenance. The lightweight bikes are easy to ride and easy to store, and will undoubtedly save you money on transportation. Every bike is hand-built and can travel up to 20 miles per hour. Sign up and refer a friend, and you can get $240.
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.
Now that you have explored made in DC businesses, check out the city’s eclectic neighborhoods.