A fabulous DC staple is the restaurant, lounge, and community arts venue Busboys and Poets. I first went there in 2006, about a year or so after it opened, and I was immediately hooked. The first location to open is what I call its signature location at the corner of 14th and V Streets Northwest, a short walk from the U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro station. The neighborhood is filled with many excellent choices for dinner that might easily distract you and lure you in their direction, but I promise you won’t be disappointed if you give Busboys a try.
Five additional locations have since opened: 5th and K. Streets in Northwest, DC; Campbell Avenue in Shirlington, VA; Baltimore Avenue in Hyattsville, MD; Monroe Street in Northeast, DC; and Carroll Street Northwest, DC.
Okay, first things first: why the name? It’s quite clever actually. The DC chain was established in the honor of poet and author Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy in the mid 1930s. It represents who and what Langston Hughes was. In addition to serving food, Busboys hosts a variety of events, including concerts, book readings, and a variety of artsy shows. Of most interest to me are the various Open Mic nights, events that feature some amazingly talented young men and women skilled in the craft of spoken word.
The food is great too. It’s quite diverse. If you are looking for a nice, wholesome and healthy meal, you’ll find it on the menu. If you want something fried and greasy, they have that too. They even have a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian items, including desserts. There is also a full service bar. As far as the restaurant goes, one of the biggest draws for me is the service. I’ve been to four of the six locations, and I have always been impressed with the service. It is either a prerequisite for being hired or Busboys’ leadership sets the customer service bar very high by the example it sets.
If you have never been, you owe yourself a favor by checking it out. If you need some company, let me know. I’m always open to stopping by Busboys and Poets for dinner, lunch, breakfast, or to catch an Open Mic night or any of their other great events.