WASHINGTON – For owner Andy Shallal, having a restaurant isn’t enough.
Busboys and Poets has long been known for having a bookstore within its restaurants, as well as poetry readings, open mic nights and other special, cultural events.
Next spring, Shallal will expand on his idea of a “community gathering place” at the new Busboys and Poets, planned for Takoma Park. In addition to a restaurant and a bookstore, the upcoming 7,000 square-foot location will also include a small farmers market.
“It will be a convenient little market for the people that live in the community and neighborhood to be able to come down sometime, any day or night, and be able to pick something up,” says Shallal, who opened the first Busboys and Poets at 14th and V in 2005.
The market will sell items from local growers and producers, such as fruits, vegetables, cheeses, eggs, butters and specialty dry goods. According to Shallal, the point is to provide a market at a convenient location where residents can pick up fresh, local items when the neighborhood’s farmers market is not open.
“There’s a wonderful farmers market already in the neighborhood. Our intent is not to compete with that, but really to provide an alternative for times and days when that market is not operational,” says Shallal, who is partnering with Glen’s Garden Market on the new venture.
Shallal says the new location in Takoma Park is something he has always wanted, but he had trouble finding a location with enough space.
“Takoma Park has always been on our radar. It’s interesting because Takoma Park was one of the first communities that wanted to have Busboys and Poets in their neck of the woods,” Shallal says.
The menu for the new location will be very similar to the other locations. However, the Takoma Park Busboys and Poets will feature a local dish on a regular basis to utilize the products the market carries.
As for future locations, Shallal says he always has his eyes open.
“We’re always looking for other options, other locations. (There is still) nothing firm, but maybe Capitol Hill,” he says.
The Takoma Park Busboys and Poets location is slated to open in the spring of 2014 at the corner of Carroll Street and Maple Street N.W.