I stumbled upon Chill Zone Cafe through a beautiful post on Instagram, where the coffee looked deliciously good and the vibe seemed just what I was looking for – chill. As I am always on the hunt for new cafes to sip my coffee and work, I was out of the house and on the way to Chill Zone within 5 minutes. I walked into the cafe slightly confused on where exactly I am (it is located in Falls Church in a tucked away location) however I got over it quickly when I saw how this tiny place was beautifully broken down to clear personality types: to your left is the corner for people who enjoy sitting on the floor (without their shoes). To you right the people who enjoy contemplating life and staring out of the window and need some vitamin D. Tucked inside to the left is for the people who prefer more traditional tables (picture below).
Every corner at Chill Zone’s café seems to have a story and after tasting their delicious coffee, I knew I had to meet the Owner and learn more about why he created this place. Fast forward a week, Daniel (Owner of Chill Zone) and I are sitting to exchange stories and ofcourse drinks and food. Daniel from Vietnam, is a creative himself serving as a professional photographer for 30 years in the DMV area and only 9 months ago launched Chill Zone. He holds an attitude that carries firm belief that life offers you everything for a reason at the time you are ready. After being a photographer for so long he kept seeing signs that he needed to open a café that showed off his Vietnamese roots and his chill attitude to life. Clearly he followed the signs.
Slowly the pieces started coming together organically where his mother in law moved to the DMV from Vietnam carrying her traditional Vietnamese cooking experience, then his brother, Tan, decided to go into design and his sister, Michelle, toured the world to find the best coffee (I think her love for coffee exploded into something she didn’t expect – another example of why we need to pursue our passions!).
With that note lets explore the coffee Chill Zone serves. After sampling hundreds, Michelle decided to go with local roaster Vigilanti Coffee, founded by Chris Vigilanti. I was quite happy to see Chris’s work there as he carries such passion and high quality in the coffee he creates. He has created custom blends for several DC places and I’m sure there will be more to come.
For our alternative milk drinkers, Chill Zone offers almond, soy and coconut milk. All their sugars used are organic and made in house. The biggest plus paired with the coffee was the wifi. So freelancers I found your new hidden (well no longer hidden) but new spot to work and sip coffee!
For the tea lovers, they have only two kinds: Jasmine and Black tea served hot or cold with authentic tear drop bubba. They do also serve matcha latte and according to Daniel it is the real deal where the matcha is imported from Japan. I did not taste it myself so I look forward to hearing what you thought about it!
For the adventurous people (my favorite kind of people), they have a taro latte which is fun, purple and delicious. It is made with real taro, organic sugar and is something you need to taste for yourself.
Now, moving on to food. The menu is slim with only a few options for you to choose from. This has been done purposefully as Daniel wants to focus and serve a few good ones. His menu also changes with the season (apparently the Mango dish is the best so we will all have to wait till February till it’s back on the menu. Who wants to go with me?) The menu is made out of mini bites (even though they are big portions). Below is the full menu made up of 3 times.
First up is the: Pan fried rice cakes comprised of crunchy rice cakes, scrambled eggs, scallion and green papaya salad and homemade soy sauce. I would recommend eating this for breakfast after having your coffee. It is priced at $6.25 which is pretty reasonable considering the portion size.
Second up was the: Wings comprised of fried chicken wings with homemade tangy sauce paired with a side of celery and a dipping sauce. I found this dish sweeter than the usual wings as well as lighter (not covered in deep fried oil) which for me was better but not everyone likes their wings on the sweeter side and lightly fried. This dish is priced at $8 and for the number of wings you get is also reasonable.
Third up and my personal favorite dish was the Vietnamese Chicken sandwich which is made with and is priced at only $5.75. This dish is a steal and a delicious one!! Note this dish contains jalapeno so if you are not a spicy person let them know.
I would definitely recommend coming here if you are looking for an inspiring place to drink, eat and work. The location (2442 N Harrison St, Arlington, VA 22207) is not the most convenient especially if you live in the city but it is worth the trip if you plan on spending several hours. If you are a local in Virginia then I would recommend making this your spot for drinks. Enjoy!
Follow Chill Zone to get their menu updates here.