“Lovettsville is kind of a food desert,” says Jill Evans-Kavaldjian. The longtime resident of the sleepy Loudoun County town used to raid her friend Michelle McIntyre’s cabinet, and vice versa, to complete their meals of Vietnamese curry or other concoctions of worldly dishes. If they couldn’t help each other with a dash of fish sauce, they’d have to drive 40 minutes to the grocery store in Sterling.
After 20 years of spice exchanges, the two came together for a two-prong spot: The Dinner Belles Kitchen Cupboard. Evans-Kavaldjian runs the tiny market—400 square feet—and the limited shelf space holds a wide range of last-minute needs to cook a variety of cuisines: shrimp paste, coconut sugar, cans of New England-style clam chowder, pomegranate molasses and salsa. Like any good shop, there are tools to build a robust snacking situation: tinned sardines, crackers, cheeses, charcuterie, small batch hummus (by Roots from Asheville, North Carolina) and jarred lingonberries (by Felix in Sweden).
McIntyre operates a ready-made subscription meal business out of the adjoining kitchen, with flexible subscription options and, of course, the ease of grabbing a bottle of wine or a six of craft beer from the market. Evans-Kavaldjian calls her shop a throwback in the age of instant-ordering from faceless, online giants. “People are eager for a more personalized retail experience,” she says. Because we don’t physically have to go shopping anymore, “you’re going to shop where you want to go.” // 24 E. Broad Way, Lovettsville
Long Stone Farm Salamis
Made from sustainably raised pigs in Lovettsville, salamis come in flavors like chajari (sweet-spicy Argentinian style), cacciatore (creamy, garlicky) and chorizo de Pamplona (smoky, spicy). Jull Evans-Kavaldjian loves the fennel seed version, One Wild Fennel. // $17.50
Fabbioli Raspberry Merlot
From the storied Leesburg winery, this merlot is not an overly sweet dessert wine, says Evans-Kavaldjian, who also says to “pour it over ice cream.” // $23
Been Jammin’ Bread
Baked blocks from the store, the sourdough boule is great for supping up stews, soups and, on its last legs, says Evans-Kavadjian, her daughter turns it into bread pudding with rum-soaked raisins. // $6.50
Evans-Kavadjian first tasted Jake Endres’ beer at a party of a friend of his mother’s, even before he opened his own brewery. She now stocks Crooked Run’s limited releases, like the Berliner Weisse-styled Merrang! // $22 for 16-ounce four-pack