Alexandria, VA

It’s hard to not love sweet things, and on Friday morning Dolce and Bean was presented with the annual Heart of Del Ray award.

“The neighborhood is just overwhelming,” Dolce and Bean owner Petros Grebre-Egziabher told ALXnow. ” I want also to express my love to this community that welcomed me with open arms and supported me every day for four years.”

The confectioner at 2003A Mount Vernon Avenue received a large heart from the Del Ray Business Association that he will display prominently for a year. Also in contention this year were St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub and Stomping Ground. More than 1,400 people participated in online voting, according to DRBA.

The heart display was officially moved on Friday morning from the location of the 2020 awardee, Preeti Patel’s 7-Eleven.

“Petros makes you feel like you’re the most important customer when you come in,” DRBA President Lauren Fisher said. “It’s like seeing an old friend. He just treats everyone like that and he does embody the heart (of Del Ray), and we are so happy to have him in our community. And he carries great chocolate.”

DRBA board member Gayle Reuter received notes effusively praising Grebre-Egziabher.

“Where do you go that when you walk in it warms your heart?” Reuter said at the award presentation. “Where do you go that makes you feel like this is a real community? That’s exactly what people said about you. They said the minute they walk through your door, you greet them with a smile.”

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