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Washington Post: Andy Shallal, Restaurant Owner and D.C. Mayoral Candidate, Plans Busboys and Poets for Brookland

December 03, 2013

Published in the Washington Post

Andy Shallal is running for mayor in D.C. but he still has a business to run, and it’s expanding.

Shallal has signed a lease with the Bozzuto Group to open a Busboys and Poets restaurant as part of the Monroe Street project being built in the Northeast Washington neighborhood of Brookland. 

The $200 million mixed-use project is on nine acres adjacent to a Red Line Metro station and is being developed in conjunction with Catholic University, Shallal’s alma mater.

The Brookland Busboys will be a 7,400-square-foot restaurant overlooking a public square named for former Catholic University president David M. O’Connell, at the corner of Monroe Street and Michigan Avenue. It’s expected to open in the fall of 2014.

“With a strong hand in community involvement, art, cultural uplifting, and political discussion, Busboys and Poets is a perfect fit for Monroe Street Market,” Shallal said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing development, and are equally excited to share our brand with this community.”

In February, when Shallal said that he would open a fifth busboys in Takoma, he discussed his interest in Brookland.

Since then, he announced that he is running for mayor of D.C., launching his campaign as a Democrat not at Busboys but Ben’s Chili Bowl and saying he would make arts a central theme of his campaign, just as it is in his restaurants.

“I want to see artists at every meeting, at every table … they help us to connect our heart with our mind,” he said at his campaign kickoff. “Too many times, politicians try to separate that, they think from the neck up, and that’s not a good way to operate, that’s not a good way to lead.”

In an interview, Toby S. Bozzuto, president of Bozzuto Development, said that for a real estate project Shallal “adds an imprimatur that’s pretty incredible.”

“It’s a really big deal for us because in our mind historically, if you look at development in D.C. going back 10 or 15 years, Andy has been instrumental in going into areas that haven’t seen as much retail development,” Bozzuto said.

Bozzuto lives in Baltimore, preventing him from voting for his newest tenant. Will he support the campaign in other ways? Like many a real estate developer, he was non-committal.

“Andy’s a good friend and we wish him the best of luck,” Bozzuto said.