It was a too good to be true two days ago on Tuesday, March 12, for the Ribbon Cutting Grand Opening of Busboys and Poets in Ward 8 at 2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast Washington, DC.
“It’s been a long time coming,” says Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets at the Ribbon Cutting Grand Opening. During his remarks, Shallal suggested using hashtag Ward 8 is great #Ward8isgreat, and we’re going to make it even greater. As the owner, Shallal has plans to supplement, fortify, and not push out the other restaurants which were there before the red carpet arrived for the ribbon cutting. Mr. Shallal thanked the District Government for their support and efforts with ensuring the restaurant would open its doors. Andy stated how government is not necessarily the best friend of business, but business needs to be a part of the solutions. “Get use to us,” said Shallal at the ribbon cutting. Although he doesn’t usually hear the word help very often, Andy Shallal was very proud to have been offered the help and support to open Busboys and Poets in Ward 8, even if he is somewhat speechless to call Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative his landlords.
The project had been in development for the past 5 years. The full-service restaurant is on the ground floor of the new building. The Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, made possible by Mayor Bowser’s support including $3 million dollars in grants, and $8 million dollars in revenue bonds from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. An additional $2 million dollars was derived from the D.C. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program administered by the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment and Urban Ingenuity according to the Mayor’s website. The total economic development investment was $13 million dollars for Busboys and Poets to open in Ward 8. This innovative project builds on Mayor Bowser’s ongoing commitment to expand prosperity and create pathways to the middle class for residents across all eight wards.
Many were in attendance for the celebration. “Very excited because I’m apart of the board, it’s a great day to have and bring this to Ward 8,” says Sandy Allen former Councilmember. The great Ward 8, the people can sit down, get culture, poetry, art, and the food is good, former Councilmember Sandy Allen added in support of the opening of Busboys and Poets. The restaurant resonates with the heart and soul of Ward 8 with the interior art adding the ambiance and elegance along with the Marion Barry room to host events. The majority of the art work featured in the Ward 8 Busboys and Poets are from Ward 8 and Commissioner Troy Donte’ Prestwood thinks its really special. Commissioner Prestwood suggests with recent headlines of gentrification, we have an opportunity to get it right. “I hope people know the arrival of Busboys and Poets doesn’t mean anyone is being forced out. Everyone is welcome to get a piece of the pie,” he stated.
Busboys and Poets is metro accessible. However, lunch time parking is pretty congested, so perhaps parking around the perimeter of the restaurant and walking wouldn’t be a bad idea, and you can work up an appetite for great food.