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Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap wins 2022 Heart of Del Ray award

Del Ray Business Association Board Members and past Heart of Del Ray award winners present the 2022 Heart of Del Ray to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap. Joey Civali of the Yates family represented Lena’s in accepting the award. (Via Bill Blackburn)

The thoughtful dining experiences have paid off. Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap was awarded the Heart of Del Ray award on Friday (Feb. 11), beating out four other local businesses.

More than 1,000 voters cast ballots for the spot that captured the heart of the community. The Del Ray Business Association presented the restaurant with a large heart-shaped award on Friday morning — just in time for Valentine’s Day on Monday, Feb. 14.

“It’s a great anchor for Del Ray and reinforces what we’re all about — the small, locally owned family business,” said DRBA board member Gayle Reuter. “They know their customers, and we know them. It’s what we look for in a community — a place where we all know and care about each other.”

Lena’s has been widely recognized for transforming the restaurant into creative and Covid-conscious dining spaces with Haiku fans to kill airborne pathogens. The second floor was converted into The Loft at Lena’s, a seasonal pop-up with new concepts and menus, and the top of their parking deck was made into the tropical retreat Lena’s Oasis.

“Lena’s didn’t just put up a tent with tables outside,” wrote one nominator. “They recognized people needed an escape during COVID, so they created an elevated dining experience — and it changes with the seasons!”

Lena’s is owned and operated by Alexandria Living Legends Jason and Loran Yates. It opened in 2015 at “Yates Corner” at Braddock Road and Mount Vernon Avenue, and is next door to Yates Dry Cleaning and across the street from the Yates Automotive Service Center.

The award was presented to Dolce & Bean last year, and Preeti Patel’s 7-Eleven on Mount Vernon Avenue in 2020.

“The past year has been hard on all of us,” Lena’s said on its website. “We created Lena’s Oasis to say ‘thank you’ and to give back to this wonderful community that has supported us through thick and thin for more than 57 years. An oasis is something calm in the midst of chaos. So, come to our safe space and relax for a while. You deserve it. We will get through this together.”

The other nominees:

Courtesy photo

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