When I still lived in New York I would make it a point to eat at Busboys & Poets every time I visited Washington, D.C. Busboys and Poets is a socially conscious restaurant located in the revitalized neighborhood of U Street near the campus of Howard University. There are other locations in the surrounding Washington, D.C. area but the location at 14th Street and V Street is my favorite.
The restaurant is large and usually busy to the point that you might have to wait for a table. There is a section in the front filled with telecommuters, students, and digital nomads feverishly typing away on open laptops. This location also has the largest of their independently run bookstores offering a wonderful selection of multicultural books for children and social-political books for women and people of color.
On one visit, I ordered shrimp and grits from Busboys and Poets. I was expecting traditional grits with shrimp on top, however Busboys served grits cakes that were surprisingly creamy inside, yet firm outside. The shrimp was served in a creamy sauce with a nice hint of spice and they were massive – medium size shrimp would have been sufficient. It was actually way too much food for lunch. I was stuffed to the gills!
When I visited another time I went for dinner service. The hostess gave me the option of sofa seating or a table. I chose a table that offered a view of bustling 14th Street. I ordered the turkey burger with a side of crab grits. To drink I also ordered the white sangria which was strong and well-balanced. As I waited for my food, I started a new book that I picked up from the in-house bookstore for 50% off. I enjoyed the music selection which could have been swiped from my personal iPod! The meal did not disappoint as it was absolutely delicious and flavorful. The grits were a nice consistency with just enough crab to make it worthwhile.
Each time I have gone to Busboys and Poets the service has been a bit inattentive so don’t expect to be offered a refill, an after meal coffee or tea, or dessert. While the food is delicious, I do suggest passing on the dessert menu as the desserts I have ordered from there did not seem to be as fresh as they could have been.
Busboys & Poets @ 14th & V
2021 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009