Community NewsDel Ray Doings

Voting Now Open For Heart of Del Ray Award!

Five Nominees "Represent the Heart and Soul of Del Ray"

Taqueria Poblano owner Jeff Wallingford was given the Heart of Del Ray award in 2019. (Del Ray Business Association)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Voting is now open for the 2020 Heart of Del Ray award, sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association. Every February, the Del Ray Business Association presents the Heart of Del Ray Award to the business that serves as the heart and soul of Del Ray, as determined by a public vote of neighbors and customers. Selection is based on which business best demonstrates their warm and welcoming attitude to the community and customers, their commitment and generosity to the community, and to their overall contribution to Del Ray.      The nominees for the 2020 Heart of Del Ray — plus comments from the customers who nominated them — are:

LENA’S WOOD-FIRED PIZZA & TAP: For decades, the Yates family has been known for their commitment to the community and customer service — values that they have carried over to their restaurant, Lena’s.   The restaurant hosts regular fundraising nights for local schools and community organizations, and leads the party during Del Ray’s popular charity bar crawls.  “They are the epitome of the neighborhood,” read one nomination.  “Good food and a great environment.  The staff is wonderful,” read another nomination.

PREETI’S 7-ELEVEN: The biggest smile in Del Ray is the one behind the counter at 7-Eleven.  Owner Preeti Patel is a fixture in the community, known for her welcoming spirit and her support of local events and causes — including donating over 2,000 hot dogs for the Halloween Parade every year.  “She knows all the families, supports all our events, supports the schools, and so much more,”  read one nomination.  “She is always pleasant, always working hard, and always so kind and welcoming to my kids,” read another.

ROCK OF AGES MUSIC (ROAM): Founded by Alexandria native John Patrick, ROAM strives to be “an all-inclusive music center to provide the area with all of its musical needs.”  That mission is at the core of all that Patrick does — not only does he teach up-and-coming musicians, he volunteers countless hours chairing the Del Ray Music Festival, bringing top local talent to the neighborhood. “They are building a safe community for our kids, all while embracing the arts,” read one nomination.  “The end results are amazing and fill the kids with such a sense of accomplishment and self esteem.”

STOMPING GROUND: Three words are used most often to describe chef/owner Nicole Jones’ Stomping Ground — friendly, welcoming, and delicious — all the things a great neighborhood restaurant should be.  “Nicole’s energy, community involvement and culinary talent are the very best Del Ray has to offer.  Her actions and work bring great credit upon her and our town,” read one nomination.  Another nominee summed up the restaurant’s community vibe: “It’s like Cheers for biscuits!”

STUDIO BODY LOGIC: For over 20 years, Studio Body Logic has been a leader in the wellness community, with a commitment to giving back; the studio offers free Pilates classes for wounded veterans through their non-profit, Next Step Pilates. “The women who run it are widely recognized as some of the very best in their fields, and most importantly, they have formed a supportive community of people who laugh, hurt, and grow together,” read one nomination.  “They have been improving lives of residents like myself for many years, and they are also helping some of those who need it most,” read another.

Visit to vote; voting closes at 12 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 12.  A large heart-shaped award will be displayed on the winning business on Th., Feb 13 to greet them for the Valentine’s Day weekend.

A business can only win the award once. Past winners of the award include A Show of Hands, The Jen Walker Team, 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, and Taqueria Poblano.

MORE IN DEL RAY: Curry is Alive and Well on Mt. Vernon in Del Ray in Alexandria

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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