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Location Review: Busboys and Poets

February 26, 2014 | 5:56pm EST

I’ve recently made an effort to get off campus more to explore DC and discover some nice study spots that will motivate me to get things done. This past drizzly Wednesday I hopped on the Redline to head anywhere but AU to find a place where I could sit down and crank out my well-postponed philosophy paper. Enter Busboys and Poets, a renowned restaurant/coffee shop/bookstore that’s a ten-minute walk from the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop. Busboys and Poets boasts a low-key vibe and is most recognized for the variety of art related events hosted daily at its four separate locations, particularly poetry readings. Located on 5th and K, the building can’t be missed with its bright orange sign, colorfully painted crate flowerboxes, and metal yellow sculpture out front.

Upon entering, the spacious interior has an airy, almost industrial feel with exposed pipes crisscrossing the ceiling that reaches more than 25 feet high. The inside is bigger than you might think, with a lot of space towards the back and a spiraling staircase leading to a whole other upstairs floor. I was immediately greeted by the smiling staff and shown a large variety of seating choices that ranged from comfy couches tucked away in cozy corners to huge tables in front of expansive windows. I decided to settle down in a red voluptuous leather armchair. Looking around, the bowler hat and overall sporting staff was very approachable and whisked around carrying mouthwatering dishes. Despite Busboys and Poets also being a restaurant, I loved that you have the option to stay and relax for a while like in a traditional café. While working, I also enjoyed glancing around at the artworks hanging liberally on the walls – each location circulates local artwork twice annually, aiming to show case local artists. The colorful artworks make the environment even more vibrant and interesting and I frequently found myself procrastinating by looking around at them all.

I was handed a menu upon sitting down filled with a glorious abundance of delicious sounding dishes, including sweet potato fries, pan seared scallops, and hazelnut chocolate cake (I was about to die and go to heaven, okay?). However, there are also tons of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for anyone with special dietary needs. Double bonus: there’s free Wi-Fi. The menu is a little pricey for certain items, but the servings were pretty large and certainly tempted me to drop a few pennies. I ended up getting a basic latte, which did not disappoint. Before leaving, I stopped to look at the small, conveniently located mini bookstore by the entrance. Although small, I enjoyed browsing through a selection of books by local artists and subjects relating to social justice.

All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend Busboys and Poets as a great brunch place or study spot for all of those who want a fresh change from their local Panera. Though a bit of a metro ride away from campus, the change of scenery and a fresh bite to eat certainly made it worthwhile.

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