Loose Lips

Andy Shallal: Celebrity Endorsements Weren’t So Helpful

Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal's longshot mayoral campaign was marked by celebrity endorsements and slams on the media. As it turns out, however, those might not have been such good ideas. In an op-ed in the Washington Post this weekend, Shallal writes about what he learned on the way to earning 3 percent of the Democratic primary vote.

"I also learned that endorsements from people outside the city feel good and bring in money but don’t translate into votes," Shallal writes. "I learned that praising your opponent at a debate is a good idea and slamming the media is not."

Shallal's other lessons include learning to enjoy reading budgets and spending less time reading online comments. He closes with his characteristic slam on construction cranes as a sign of progress. "Meanwhile, the cranes keep on building while anxious residents feel the ground shift beneath them," Shallal writes. "We need to shift our gaze from those cranes and focus on the future of the city."

Will Shallal be putting his new knowledge to use on another campaign? Shallal hasn't responded to LL's calls about what's next, but he has eliminated one of his weaknesses since losing last April. After catching grief from both the crowd and Mayor Vince Gray at the Ward 7 Democrats' debate for not opening a branch of his restaurant chain east of the river, Shallal made plans last month to open a Busboys location in Anacostia.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery


  1. #1

    Good for Andy! I attended the Ward 7 forum when he got called out for the Busboys not being in SE. Hopefully he can put one on that side of town. I think that Shallal should run for Ward 4 councilmember or as an At-Large councilmember.

    He does provide good ideas and insight, but he needs to go through the ranks of the council to learn more and get a better feel for the city's needs.

  2. #2

    It was an expensive learning experience. Celebrity endorsements....that's so funny in a city that equates Marion Barry and Rayful Edmunds as celebrities.

  3. #3

    @Tight Lips

    For what it's worth, Shallal would have to move before he could run in Ward 4. He's a Ward 1 resident.

  4. #4

    @Will understood. Seemed like a good person to take Muriel's old spot when she wins.

  5. #5

    Some of those cranes are building his restaurants!

  6. #6

    I think he would be a great Ward 4 Councilmember and we already have one coming to Takoma.

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