Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May and show your support for the #StopAsianHate movement by getting to know some of Alexandria, VA’s AAPI business owners. Find new favorite spots to enjoy throughout the year and see what these owners want you to know about their businesses. Keep reading for inspiration on where to grab your next scoop of ice cream, add to your art collection or pick up takeout for a riverside picnic.
If your restaurant or shop is located within the City of Alexandria and you are interested in joining this list, please email the author at CSecrest@VisitAlexVA.com.
AR Workshop, Old Town’s boutique DIY studio and gift shop, offers so much more than in-person workshops. In addition to classes, owner Katie Nguyen Wells (pictured above) and her team offer DIY-To-Go Kits for you to enjoy at home. Don’t have time to DIY, or need a gift that is handmade, sentimental and personalized? AR Workshop can create a custom order for pick up and shipping, and also offers a lovely gift shop onsite filled with local art, books, activities and stylish and affordable decor and gifts.
Most Popular Projects: The “double skyline” project is a popular service for customized gifts. See an example created by Katie below. She captions this piece as follows: “When your mom is from Hanoi, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S./D.C. in 1980 and hasn’t been ‘home’ since…”
Kyo Gallery on S. Patrick Street is an international art gallery showcasing the most talented artists from around the world. Gallery Director Jason Longfellow and his team often coordinate two simultaneous thematic exhibitions, with works available in three gallery showrooms. The gallery also has a robust online presence for collecting virtually.
Exclusive Coupon Code: Throughout May 2021, use the coupon code APAHM2021 to receive a 20% discount on all original works on the website and in the gallery to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. As a 501c3 organization, all gallery proceeds will go to art programs and causes that include Anti-Hate organizations.
Restaurants and Sweet Spots
Avanti Holdings Group Restaurants
Teddy Kim (pictured above) is an Alexandria native and principal of Avanti Holdings Group. Visit one of Teddy’s four Alexandria eateries. Sip a drinkable work of art at The Peoples Drug, sample tacos served from a revamped car garage at Chop Shop Taco, taste fresh-made temaki from The Handover and order a round of rare Japanese whiskeys from The King’s Ransom. Try takeout from any of these Old Town spots for the perfect riverside picnic.
The Peoples Drug’s Must-Try Dishes: The People’s Burger and Roasted Garlic Egg Salad Sandwich.
Chop Shop Taco’s Must-Try Dishes: Crunchy Brisket Tacos, the smashed avocado appetizer and popular weekly specials.
The Handover Must-Try Dishes: Sushi, nigiri and maki rolls shine here. Plus, frosé flavors change weekly!
The King’s Ransom Must-Try Dishes: Cocktail are the star here – try the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, VA’s only Toki Highball Machine and rare Japanese Whiskeys.
The water-view restaurant Hummingbird, owned by Philippines-born Meshelle Armstrong (pictured above), is an energetic bar and kitchen inspired by the American spirit of cherished traditions: Clambakes and crab boils, fish fries and oyster roasts. “Our menu follows the rhythm of the seasons and celebrates the seafood prideof our favorite coastal waters,” says Meshelle. “It’s the little things at Hummingbird!” In addition to owning award-winning regional restaurants such as Kaliwa in D.C., Meshelle will soon be opening BEAUTY by Society Fair, an off-shoot of the beloved retail food market in Alexandria.
Must-Try Dishes: Oysters on the half shell; bronzed crab-and-corn fritters; lemony lobster linguine; and whatever whole grilled fish is being offered.
Located in the West End’s Alexandria Commons shopping center, KungFu Kitchen serves Northern-style authentic Chinese food. Owner Amy Liang and her team specialize in dishes such as soup dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, handmade dumplings and wok recipes.
Must-Try Dish: Soup dumplings – made to order little buns filled with soup.
Nicecream is a locally owned ice cream shop located in the heart of Old Town, with additional outposts in D.C. and Arlington. Sweet-toothed fans adore the handcrafted ice cream made with fresh ingredients and frozen on the spot with liquid nitrogen. Led by founder and “Chief Ice Cream Officer” Sandra Welsford (pictured above), Nicecream is a King Street must-stop as the weather warms.
Must-Try Flavors: Try May’s specialty flavors, Honey Lavender and Wild Blueberry (pictured above).
Pasara Thai Restauarant
Owner Thia Kongubol (pictured above) helms Pasara Thai, with locations in Carlyle and Kingstowne. For more than a decade, Pasara Thai has served the freshest, healthiest and most flavorful Thai food in the DMV area.
Must-Try Dishes: Savory and spicy drunken noodles and roasted duck curry, which features the perfect balance of chili paste and coconut milk.