The first thing I thought of when I walked into Busboys and Poets was Tryst, the cafe in Adams Morgan. They both have welcoming leather couches occupied by students and locals typing away on their laptops, reading books, or chatting with friends.
The difference between Tryst and Busboys and Poets is that the latter has a bookstore and restaurant area, alongside this cafe area. From the portraits of literary giants on the walls to weekly poetry slams and musical performances, Busboys and Poets is a cultural hub in the already idiosyncratic U Street neighborhood.
Busboys and Poets was actually named after poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy in the 1920s before his poetry career sprouted.
The menu at Busboys and Poets is very vegetarian and vegan friendly. So much so that I couldn’t find many options with chicken, my favorite meat. I ordered the Grilled Chicken Panini ($10) with a side of fries. It was served with chipotle mayo, caramelized onions, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato on a ciabbata roll. It was tasty, but nothing special.
The beverage I ordered, however, was quite delicious. The Lem-Pom ($2.95) is a combination of lemonade and pomegranate juice. It was very sweet and satisfying. I loved that the drink was served in a mason jar!
For dessert, I split the White Chocolate Bread Pudding ($6) with my dear friend whose birthday we were celebrating. The dessert looked kind of strange… it was a lumpy mass drizzled oozing with sauces. However, one bite revealed that it was safe to eat and actually tasted really good. The bread pudding was soft and gooey and had partially raisined green grapes in it, which were a nice addition. The dessert was served with coconut ice cream, which nicely complemented the warm dessert.
What makes Busboys and Poets special is its ambiance, not necessarily its food. I would come back to Busboys and Poets with my backpack and study from one of their inviting couches while sipping on a warm drink or nibbling on a dessert. I would also come back for an open mic night or other performance. I would not go back for a full meal just because their entrees (at least the one I had) are pretty average.
202114th St NW (14th &V)
Washington, DC 20009
Nearest Metro: U Street (Green and Yellow lines)
Sunday: 9:00 AM – Midnight
Monday – Thursday 8 AM – Midnight
Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Saturday 9:00 AM – 2:00 AM
There is another location in downtown DC at 5th and K St. NW