Women’s History Month Spotlight: Lama Hamoudi of Chez Lily

Thursday March 11, 2021

MVT CID is celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of spotlight articles on the leading ladies of MVT! This week, we’re featuring Lama Hamoudi of Chez Lily, a quaint dog-friendly coffee shop located at 425 I Street NW. Read about her story and insights in this MVT Women’s History Month spotlight:

MVT CID: What was your first job in the restaurant industry? How did you get to where you are today?

Lama: I was a PhD student in comparative literature, writing my dissertation, when I fell in love with the coffee world. The amount of time I spent with books at coffee shops made me realize how much passion I have toward interacting with people and for the service industry. The coffee shop was a dream that I am grateful today to see it come through. I got to where I am today with persistency, family support (including from my wonderful husband, Oubab, who owns Tropical Smoothie Café next door), and pushing myself every day to continue building on the prior day’s work.

MVT CID: Why do you think that your industry could benefit by having more female leaders?

Lama: Female leaders help promote and nurture a women-empowered workplace. Having more female leaders will help the industry be fairer and more balanced, it will force attention to vital issues such as paid maternity leave, equal pay, racism, and sexual harassment. Importantly, it will create more leadership role models for women.

MVT CID. What is your advice to women looking to make it in the business?

Lama: ­­Trust yourself, believe in your abilities and aim for the sky.

MVT CID: If you weren’t in the restaurant business, what would you be doing?

Lama: Farming! Maybe a small coffee beans farm. I would be for sure connected to the earth and nature.

MVT CID: What’s your favorite part about Life in MVT? 

Lama: The true and genuine community presence. And being dog friendly. It always makes my day when I see neighbors bringing in their pups to Chez Lily, since it is dog friendly. There, I met Mr. Butts, Max, Sophie, to name a few; apologies for any pup star I did not mention!


Chez Lily is a coffee shop and café located at 425 I St NW and offers socially-distanced indoor dining, carryout, and delivery.