VIENNA, VA — Lily’s Chocolate & Coffee has arrived in Vienna, bringing an Iraqi specialty and decadent chocolate.
The business held its grand opening Saturday, July 10 at 175 Maple Avenue East. The owners are Saif and Lily Alobaidi, siblings who immigrated from Iraq in 2009.
With their own business, the siblings are introducing Vienna to Lokma, an Iraqi fried pastry paired with a sweet topping. Saif Alobaidi told Patch it is traditionally served in Iraq with toppings like honey or sugar syrup. The Vienna business offers their own version of Lokma topped with chocolate.
“We try to share the culture where we come from, from Iraq,” said Saif Alobaidi.
Saif traveled to Belgium to do tastings of the finest chocolates to develop chocolates for Lily’s. Customers have the choice of three chocolates with their Lokma: dark, white or milk chocolate. In addition, the Lokma can be stuffed with peanut butter and Nutella and topped with a garnish. Other filling options like pistachio cream and strawberry cream will be offered on a rotating basis.
Aside from Lokma, Lily’s has other desserts such as churros, chocolate mousse cake, pistachio and strawberry mousse, gluten-free cookies, croissants, tiramisu, and more. Saif Alobaidi says Lily’s is planning a bubble waffle from their own recipe. Cold sandwiches such as turkey, tuna and chicken are also in the works.
As for drinks, Lily’s partners with Georgetown roastery Grace Coffee Roasters to offer a house blend of coffee. There is also a black tea with cardamom brewed fresh.
Customers may come for the sweets, but they’ll stay for the atmosphere. The interior features a pink wall adorned with flowers and the catchphrase “life is short, eat chocolate,” a neon Lily’s lighted sign, and a cushioned hanging pink chair. Lily and Saif collaborated on the design ideas, and Saif, a civil engineer, designed the space.
Since the opening, Saif Alobaidi has observed strong support from the community, including high interest in the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group. He has observed at least 100 people per day visiting the business. Lily’s also enjoys a highly visible location at Maple Avenue and Park Street near the W&OD Trail.
“I know the Town of Vienna people, they love small businesses and supporting family-owned businesses,” said Alobaidi.
His sister Lily, who the business is named after, will run it full time. Saif Alobaid emphasized the importance of customers seeing the owner behind the counter and the business providing five-star customer service.
“We care about the quality of everything, the food, the desserts, the drinks,” he said.
Lily’s Chocolate & Coffee is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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