Around Town: Busboys and Poets Opens in Anacostia

by Aaron Royce

The restaurant’s new location will open its doors to the public on March 12.

Last week at a pre-opening party, Busboys and Poets founder Andy Shallal welcomed more than 500 members of the community to celebrate the beloved restaurant’s seventh location, which opens its doors today. Guests enjoyed drinks, appetizers and music from F.L.O.T.U.S. in the 7,000-square-foot venue.

Busboys and Poets’ founder Andy Shallal celebrated the restaurant’s seventh opening in Anacostia last Wednesday. Photo by Malinda Inthirath.

“People have been asking me why I’d open a location here, and I say, why not?” said Shallal, who began working on the location after a 2014 campaign by the We Are Anacostia group. “For many years, I think Anacostia has gotten a bad reputation.” he said. “This place is built with love, beauty, and the value this community has. We can only add positive things to this area, and to the quality of life for people here.”

Local band F.L.O.T.U.S. provided music for the evening. Photo by Malinda Inthirath.

Citing Anacostia as culturally and historically rich, Shallal explained his vision for the new restaurant, which has employed more than 80 new hires. “Our values are to be a place where racial and cultural connections are uplifted,” he said. “We are delighted to be part of this transformation.” He also expressed gratitude for the encouragement and support he has received from the community and leadership across the city. “This is American culture, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Photo by Malinda Inthirath.

Mayor Muriel Bowser offered remarks and congratulations to Shallal, praising his business acumen and community-first approach. “The model that you see with Andy’s opening is inspiring for great businesses to open up right here, in Anacostia and Ward 8,” she said.

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Mia Duvall’s bar mural, here partially unfinished, will be fully unveiled at the venue’s March 12 ribbon cutting. Photo by Malinda Inthirath.

The evening also included a dedication for the location’s bookstore to the late Marion Barry, whose 83rd birthday would have been that day. Singer Ayanna Gregory performed an a cappella cover of Stevie Wonder’s “As.”

The new restaurant contains a private dining room with a stage, an expansive bar and a bookstore with authors like Yaa Gyasi, Tiffany D. Jackson and Tayari Jones. Each room features works by local artists including a mural over the bar by Mia DuVall.

The newest Busboys and Poets, located on 2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. SE, will open to the public with a ribbon-cutting at 12:00 PM on March 12.

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