How to Support DC’s Latino-Owned Businesses This Month
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
When Hispanic Heritage Month rolls around from September 15 to October 15, there’s a diverse Latinx presence in DC to celebrate—the 12th largest in the nation, to be exact. For the past decade, the number of Latinx business owners in the area has also grown a whopping 34 percent according to American University and the community is one of the fastest growing groups in the metro area.
All month long, you’ll have a chance to support these businesses through special events like art exhibitions, ice cream tastings, musical performances, and more, and once Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up, you can continue to support them through normal operation as well. From social justice initiatives to delectable ways to eat your way through Latin cuisine, here are some of the ways you can show your support to during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Themed Ice Cream Tasting Flights
From September 17 until October 3, stop by an Ice Cream Jubilee location to try a special themed tasting flight in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The flights cost $16 for four mini scoops of different flavors: Strawberry Tres Leches, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Mango Habanero, and Toasted Horchata. You also get to bring home a whole pint. Make sure to pre-order your flight online to help them raise money for La Clinica Del Pueblo, “a nonprofit health clinic in Washington, DC and Maryland that serves our local Spanish-speaking community.”
How to support: Pre-order an ice cream flight
A Latin Artist Showcase
On September 26th, experience a totally free artist showcase on the rooftop of the Eaton DC Hotel. Hosted by The Elevated Experience and Que Rico Group, the event will feature music, performances, food, and more from local Latinx artists and vendors.
How to support: Reserve a free ticket
5 Chefs, 1 Night Dinner
Experience a range of Latin cuisines all in one night at casual fine dining restaurant Blend 111 as part of a special, five-course tasting dinner on September 29 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The dinner will feature dishes from five separate chefs, from Isabel Coss of Lutèce to Mario Monte of Colada Shop. The proceeds from the event go to the Ayuda organization.
How to support: Purchase tickets
An Online Musical Performance
You don’t even have to leave your couch to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Library of Congress, which has partnered with a Chicano-Jarocho group called Cambalache. The event on September 29 will stream live on Facebook and YouTube and is aimed to celebrate San Jarocho, a traditional style of folk music from Veracruz, through performance, music workshops, and educational demonstrations.
How to support: Add the event to your calendar
Nonprofits and services
Casa Ruby, founded by Ruby Corado back in 2012, is the only LGBTQ+ bilingual and multicultural organization in the DC metro area. Corado had the idea to launch Casa Ruby when she first arrived in DC more than 30 years ago and realized there were no services to support her needs as a young transgender Latina immigrant. Today, with the slogan of being “Everyone’s Home,” Casa Ruby employs more than 50 people, and provides tens of thousands of social and human services to more than 6,000 people each year.
How to support: Donate to Casa Ruby. The organization’s website helpfully breaks each level of support down—making it easy to see how exactly your money will be spent.
Latino Economic Development Center
The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) helps to equip the Latinx community and other underserved communities through programs that teach participants how to build their long-term financial security. LEDC programs help educate those who need assistance with important life functions such as buying and staying in their homes, taking control of decisions affecting their apartment buildings, or starting or expanding their small businesses.
How to support: Learn more about how to get involved with LEDC, from volunteer opportunities to donations and even becoming a part of the organization’s board.
The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) was founded back in 1981 to provide legal services to refugees arriving from conflict in Central America. Now, its main goal is fostering the comprehensive development of the Latinx population in DC, providing direct services in immigration, housing, and citizenship.
How to support: Explore for pro bono opportunities, volunteer information, and internships with Carecen, or make a donation.
MANA (A National Latina Organization)
Since 1974, national grassroots membership organization MANA has been representing the interests of Latinx women, youth, and families on issues that impact their communities. The organization contributes their voice on many of the major issues in the public sphere, such as education, health and well-being, financial literacy, equal and civil rights, and immigration reform. Local chapters of MANA provide educational programming to women nationwide through leadership development, educational workshops, mentoring, and “building the structures to support continued Latina success.”
How to support: Learn more about MANA’s programs, like the annual Hermana Conference and the brand new 2020 civic engagement initiative, Latinas Count.
Casa Maryland works to expand opportunities for Latinx and immigrant people in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—helping the underserved with employment placement, workforce development and training, health education, citizenship and legal services, and financial, language, and literacy training.
How to support: Make a donation
Restaurants and bars
If you’re planning on going anywhere to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, you can’t go wrong with La Cosecha. Opened back in September 2019, the contemporary market provides DC with a much-needed space to celebrate Latin American culture, filled with Latin-x owned spaces to dine and shop.
How to support: Check out the full list of merchants and stop by
Mi Cuba Cafe
Mi Cuba Cafe is possibly the best spot in the city to grab an authentic, delicious Cubano sandwich, but the shop is also on a mission to prove that Cuban cuisine is so much more than that. On the website, they describe the cuisine as “a mixture of diverse culinary cultures, with seasoning and adorned with musical notes,” which is exactly what they deliver from the kitchen of their cozy restaurant in Columbia Heights.
How to support: Call to reserve a table or order for takeout, or order delivery via GrubHub
El Rinconcito Cafe
Mount Vernon Square
El Rinconcito is a longstanding local favorite for a reason. The name of the restaurant translates to “little corner cafe,” but El Rinconcito is definitely big on taste. They reliably serve up flavorful Mexican-Salvadorian staples that aren’t to be missed, like traditional pork and cheese pupusas and a shredded flank steak dish served breakfast style with a scrambled egg, avocado, and crumbly queso duro.
How to support: Walk in or order online via website
El Tamarindo first landed in AdMo back in 1982 and is now the longest standing Mexican-Salvadorian restaurant in the city. We’d be willing to wager a bet that their longevity is directly tied to their handmade pupusas, Oaxaca Mules, and chimichangas. The restaurant is also family-run, first opened by Jose Reyes and Betty Reyes, and now managed by their daughter.
How to support: Make a reservation or order online via website
Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana
Soak up the last days of summer (and first days of fall) from the patio of Mayahuel Cocina, a cozy spot in Woodley Park. Mayahuel is known for craft cocktails and tasty entrees like grilled skirt steak marinated in achiote, citrus, and garlic, or the playfully named Mexi-burguesa compliments of Chef Miguel Pizarroso who moved to the city from Bolivia.
How to support: Order online via website
14th Street Corridor and The Wharf
Colada Shop, which currently has two locations, is known throughout the city for bringing the best vibes—their 14th Street rooftop always being a mainstay for sipping mojitos amongst friends. The cozy Cuban spot has always served biteable classics like empanadas and Cubanos, but visit the location at The Wharf is great if you’re in the mood for something a bit heartier, like a Santiago Bowl or a Cuban-inspired take on shakshuka.
How to support: Make reservations or order online via website
Retail and other businesses
Translating to “new style,” Nova Bossa is a lifestyle brand that partners with emerging designers and artisans from the Americas to offer “an authentic, global, and fresh definition of luxury through craftsmanship and design.”. Founded by Brazilian native Carolina Furukrona, the brand’s mission is to preserve cultural heritage, invest in women entrepreneurs, and champion handmade and sustainable production methods—oh, and to look cute while doing it, of course.
How to support: Nova Bossa is currently open for in-store shopping, and also offers contactless shopping from their window and virtual appointments.
Need an excuse to buy another bottle of wine tonight? Look no further than Grand Cata, which has a storefront that serves as an ode to the wines and flavors from Latin America. With two locations, one in Shaw and one within La Cosecha, co-owners Pedro J. Rodríguez and Julio Robledo make it easy for Washingtonians to snap up classic and sustainable natural wines from Latin America as well as artisanal pantry items from the region.
How to support: Shop for wine online or visit in-person
Zona E Home
We’ve been spending our entire lives at home lately, so why not invest in some new decor this month from Zona E Home—a shop by Colombian natives Paula and Alvaro Sierra that offers shoppers a glimpse into their home country through specialty items, textiles, and furniture.
How to support: Shop Zona E Home online for anything from rugs to glassware
Entertainment and recreation
The Salsa with Silvia Dance Studio
Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to let loose and get in touch with your inner dancer at The Salsa With Silvia Dance Studio, one of the best places in the city to learn the art of Salsa and Bachata. The four-week series gives newbies a solid base to build on, and the studio also provides ongoing classes in which to practice your newfound skills.
How to support: Book dance classes with Silvia
Teatro De La Luna
The mission of Teatro De La Luna is to spread the knowledge of Hispanic culture throughout the DMV region with the help of live theater performances. The non-profit, co-founded by married couple Nucky Walder and Mario Marcel, has been producing plays and teaching theater workshops to adults and children since they first opened the organization back in 1991.
How to support: Make a donation
Mexican Cultural Institute
The Mexican Cultural Institute’s 16th Street mansion was designated as a DC Historic Site in 2012 with good reason—it’s absolutely gorgeous. The value of the institute goes so much deeper than just looks though, as it is committed to sharing Mexico’s vibrant cultural past and present with the local community through a wide range of programming. The institute is currently open and free to the public and doesn’t require an RSVP to visit, though a mask is required to enter the space.
How to support: Check out their calendar of upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month programming
GALA Hispanic Theatre
Founded back in 1976, GALA Hispanic Theatre is devoted to fostering a better understanding and appreciation amongst Washingtonians of Latinx arts and culture. The theatre typically presents classical and contemporary plays in Spanish and English, plus an accompanying program of dance, music, poetry, spoken word, art, and film.
How to support: Make a donation
GALA Hispanic Theatre
Founded in 1976, GALA Hispanic Theatre is devoted to fostering a better understanding and appreciation amongst Washingtonians of Latino arts and culture. The theater typically presents classical and contemporary plays in Spanish and English, plus an accompanying program of dance, music, poetry, spoken word, art, and film.
How to support: Read more about GALA’s COVID-19 safety plan and make a donation here.