Best Unnecessary Busboys and Poets Location
5th and K Streets NW
1025 5th St. NW; (202) 789-2227
Andy Shallal can completely chain off Busboys and Poets from the U Street corridor—you know, the neighborhood that actually inspired the name of his place—but that doesn’t mean the restaurateur/activist has taken U Street out of his other Busboys and Poets locations. Like the original, the food is negligible at the 5th and K spot that Shallal opened in 2008, which is to say it isn’t really the point: There’s a reason the menu is a half notion. The space is devoted to community, not comestibles. Come here for the ambience—the grainy photos of historic Harlem, the poetry readings, the open mic and stool, the bustle. Of course, what feels like history at 14th and V can seem like crass commercialism at 5th and K (and cultural appropriation at the Shirlington location). But that hasn’t deterred those long lines on Sunday morning, as the secular crowd rolls in for its own form of eggs benediction.