Located in the U Street Corridor, one of the most culturally rich areas of D.C., Busboys and Poets strives to serve its customers delicious meals as well as an important message. The casual vibe of Busboys, offset by a very passionate clientele, ranging from activists to tourists, gives this restaurant a unique appeal along with having delicious food.

On the third Sunday of every month, the Busboys hosts “Sunday Kind of Love,” an event that features poets as well as locals who are brave enough to take the stage and share some of their original work. If you are a closet poet looking for an audience, the welcoming community at Busboys and Poets has open mic nights every Tuesday and other special event nights, such as the American Sign Language open mic night.

The atmosphere is great for groups, and with plenty of seating, it’s clear that the restaurant doesn’t want to leave anyone out. When I arrived a few minutes late, the Langston Room was already full, and I was offered a seat on stage.

As for the food, Busboys and Poets offers a simple, yet satisfying, list of options mainly based on American cuisine. Please your taste buds with the grilled chicken panini, a chicken sandwich with chipotle mayo, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and pepper jack cheese served with a crispy side of fries. For a more classic meal, definitely try one of Busboys’ juicy, all-natural, free-range, grass-fed beef burgers that can be paired with fries (regular or sweet potato), salad, kettle chips or fresh fruit. The food may not be at the standard of a five-star restaurant, but I came for the panini and stayed for the poetry.

After the meal and the performances, the night does not have to end. Attached to Busboys and Poets is an independent bookstore that carries books not usually featured in a regular shop. Whether you like poetry, novels or biographies, the bookstore has something to capture the attention of a variety of readers. With books for both children and adults, the Teaching for Change-run store has books that follow a social justice and activism theme. Authors and recited works from featured poets can most often be found in the bookstore so that audience members can purchase writers’ books after attending an event.

Whether you are an aspiring spoken word artist, an activist or someone just looking for a stimulating atmosphere to accompany your dining experience, Busboys and Poets is definitely the place to be. Go with a group of friends who will cheer you on if you are bold enough to take the stage, or just sit back and listen to the words of others. For those searching for sustenance for their stomachs and their souls, Busboys and Poets is the perfect place to satisfy both.

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