An earlier version of this story included the incorrect voting lin. It has been updated and is now working properly.
ALEXANDRIA, VA-Voting is now open for the 2024 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 represents the heart and soul of Del Ray, as determined by a 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 their overall contribution to the Del Ray community. The finalists for the 2024 Heart of Del Ray — plus comments from the customers who nominated them — are:
- THE DAIRY GODMOTHER/JUST FINE DONUTS: A longtime neighborhood favorite, The Dairy Godmother’s expansion to add Just Fine Donuts satisfies Del Ray’s sweet tooth all day long. “If ever there was a sweet spot — both literally and figuratively — in the heart of Del Ray, it’s this joint,” wrote one nomination. “On a weekend or a warm night it’s where half of Del Ray’s families convene. It is one of the original businesses that helped transform Del Ray — honestly, what is Del Ray without Dairy Godmother?!” wrote another.
- THE DOG STORE/YOUR DOG’S BEST FRIENDS: The Dog Store fosters community among both two- and four legged friends in Del Ray by participating in community events, decorating for all the holidays, and doting on the pups in the neighborhood. “They are always friendly, helpful, and clearly love their community of dogs and humans,” read one nomination. “On walks down the Avenue, every pup MUST stop to get love and treats from the staff. Mine drags me in there every time!” wrote another.
- DUNCAN LIBRARY: One of Del Ray’s favorite “third places,” Duncan Library brings the community together with programs and resources covering a wide variety of interests and causes — and, of course, books. “It is the epitome of the heart of Del Ray. It’s a gathering place for everyone and it embraces you the second you walk in the door,” wrote one nomination. “The library’s programming for ALL ages is incredible, the staff is warm and welcoming, and the Friends of the Library works so hard fundraising behind the scenes to make all the extras that make Duncan so special possible,” wrote another.
- SPICE KRAFT INDIAN BISTRO: This award-winning restaurant opened just before the pandemic, and quickly became a neighborhood favorite. “They produce high quality and innovative Indian foods, and bring wonderful diversity to the neighborhood and awareness of South Asian holidays,” wrote one nomination. “They have such warm and friendly staff, create a family environment inside, and do so much in the community,” wrote another.
- ST. ELMO’S COFFEE PUB: Known as “Del Ray’s living room,” St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub has been a community gathering place since 1996. “They have been a critical and important part of what has made Del Ray such a wonderful place to live, shop & dine. The owners care deeply about the community and their staff and always step up to support dozens of non-profits and important causes,” wrote one nomination. “This neighborhood has been built around St. Elmo’s. It’s time to recognize the place that started it all!” wrote another.
Voting is now open at HERE. Voting closes at 12 p.m. on Th., Feb. 8. A large, heart-shaped award will be displayed on the winning business on Fri., Feb 9 to greet them for the Valentine’s Day weekend. 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, Ms. Preeti’s 7-11, Dolce & Bean, Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, and the Del Ray Farmers’ Market.