Founder/CEO

Andy Shallal is an artist, social entrepreneur and founder/CEO of Busboys and Poets, a restaurant group in the Washington Metropolitan area where art, culture and politics intentionally collide over mindfully sourced food, drinks, books and event programming. With six, soon to be seven locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, Busboys and Poets has become a home for progressives, artists, creatives and intellectuals, including such notables as Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and the late Howard Zinn.

Busboys and Poets is a focuses on sustainable business initiatives and employment practices.As a business on the forefront of environmental stewardship, Busboys locations are 100% wind-powered with local sourcing, including many plant-based and gluten-free friendly options. As a leader in the sustainable food movement, Busboys has been recognized locally and nationally for its innovative, conscious cuisine. Under Shallal’s leadership, Busboys has received numerous awards including the Mayor’s Arts Award, Employer of the Year from the Employment Justice Center and the Mayor’s Environmental Award.

Shallal is a 2018 Frederick Douglass 200 award winner for those who best embody Douglass’sspirit, TedX speaker and founder of severalpeace and justice organizations. He is on the board of trustees for the Institute for Policy Studies, Race Forward, the Anacostia CoordinatingCouncil and a founding member of Think Local First DC, a local business association serving in advisory and leadership roles to advance progressive business and labor practices. Shallal recently was chairman of DC’s Workforce Investment Council and ran for Mayor of Washington, DC in 2014. He continues to strive to make his hometown of Washington, DC a more livable community.

Shallal received his B.S. in biology from Catholic University of American and attended Howard Medical School and Robert Smith’s University of Maryland School of Business. He is a husband and father of four.

Fun Fact: Andy refuses to sign the civil rights mural titled ‘Peace and Struggle’ at Busboys and Poets 14th & V, saying this would be a ‘final gesture’ that would preclude him from making revisions later.

Q: What’s your favorite hobby?
A: Painting

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For Langston Hughes on His 123 Birthday

Speech given on February 1, 2024 in Havana, Cuba In 1927 Langston Hughes walked into a Cuba amid an emerging community of artists, intellectuals, and radicals.  He saw a “sunrise in a new land [– a day – in his words]sic – full of brownskin surprises, and hitherto unknown contacts in a world of color.”  … Continued

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Palestine Week 2024

January 18, 2024 – January 25, 2024 In keeping with our ongoing mission of uplifting racial and cultural connections, Busboys and Poets is hosting Palestine Week (January 18 through January 25, 2024). This week-long series of events will offer a diverse range of programming featuring Palestinian food, music, dance, poetry, discussions, and other enriching events. … Continued

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#PaintTheStorefronts

These are trying times for people and local, small businesses across the globe. Instead of boarding up our windows after an unfortunate act of vandalism, we’ve responded by spreading messages of optimism and hope by hiring local artists to #PaintTheStorefronts. All of our seven locations are painted, and we are spreading the movement; already we’ve … Continued

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Xmas Eve Service at New Beginnings

Every Christmas Eve Busboys and Poets gathers a group of volunteers to go to New Beginnings Juvenile Detention Center to prepare and serve a special meal for youth serving time. A way of giving to our young people who may struggle particularly around the holiday season. Big thanks to all our volunteers! New Beginnings is … Continued

6. Langston Hughes in Cuba

Follow along for the Busboys and Poets Travel Tribe’s Cultural Exchange trip to Cuba (July 6-13, 2022) By Andy Shallal (@andyshallal CEO/Founder, Busboys and Poets) The Union of Writers and Artists is one of the oldest institutions formed after the Cuban revolution. The year was 1961. Its first president was Nicolas Guillen. Cuba’s national poet. Named … Continued