Shotted may be the only coffee shop in Fairfax County with a midnight rush.
Where most coffeehouses see business peak in the morning or late afternoon as patrons drop in before and after work, the Tysons Corner Center kiosk comes to life at night — particularly during Ramadan, which began this year on March 22 and will end with the holiday Eid al-Fitr on Thursday (April 20).
Shotted is always night-owl-friendly, typically operating until 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. But it extends those hours to 1 a.m. during the Muslim holy month, accommodating community members looking to break their daytime fast with caffeine and desserts.
The move has paid off, drawing 200 to 300 people after 8 p.m. on weekdays and as many as 1,000 customers on weekends, according to Shotted founder and CEO Bandar Alhenaki.
“There’s not many ‘Islamic’ or Muslim coffee shops, and when this one came out…it went pretty viral,” one customer, Rabia Khalid, told FFXnow. “And if you come here around 10, it’s packed, like there’s a line to the back. It’s like Black Friday over here.”
Rabia and her sister, Remsha, say Shotted is usually a “midnight move” with friends since prayers during Ramadan can last until 11 p.m., but when they visited around 8:30 p.m. this past Tuesday (April 11), a consistent line was already forming.
Some patrons were first-timers, like one group who said they’d learned about Shotted on TikTok, while others are regulars — all of them drawn as much by the buzz of community as the coffee.
“It’s about getting the community together, like I get to see people I haven’t seen in years at Shotted,” Rabia said. “So, it’s become a little tradition.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the drinks are “high quality,” in the words of one patron.
“I don’t think it has to do with anything about being a religious thing,” another man said when asked about Shotted’s appeal. “I think they just offer good coffee, nice pastries. I feel like it’s comparable or even better than Starbucks.”
The favorable comparison to Starbucks would likely please Alhenaki, who says he wants “to take the typical coffee shop experience to the next level.”
Inspired by Saudi Arabia’s booming cafe scene, Shotted started in 2019 as a pop-up at festivals and universities around the D.C. area before landing its kiosk at Tysons Corner Center in 2020.
While establishing a business in the midst of the Covid pandemic was a challenge, Alhenaki says the support for the coffee shop “has been incredible” from not just the community, but also the mall, which agreed to the extended Ramadan hours.
“It is very important to us to support our local community,” said Tysons Corner Center Director of Property Management Jesse Benites. “During Ramadan, practicing members of the community value Shotted as a place to gather, socialize and connect with each other. Our decision to allow Shotted to extend their hours is a way that we are able to facilitate this connection.”
A regional shopping destination, Tysons Corner Center attracts businesses that serve international tastes like Shotted and Cha Tea House — a Pakistani cafe that gained a following as a food truck in Springfield — because of the area’s diversity and many universities and embassies, according to Alhenaki.
Muslim himself, he’s aware that, with alcohol off limits, nightlife options during Ramadan are limited. The Khalids, for instance, traveled 40 minutes to visit Shotted, a minor undertaking compared to the two hours Rabia says her friend will journey from Baltimore.
“We want to share something unique to the market and the community,” Alhenaki said. “We want to be able to have this brand start in the DMV and then expand nationally, and that’s our goal.”
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