Last night, River East Emerging Leaders (r.e.e.l.) brought a panel of DC restaurateurs to Historic Anacostia to talk about how to break into the business. Speaking to a crowd full of residents eager to transform their neighborhood, the owners of Mama’s Kitchen and The Orange Cow Food Truck, successful franchisers of McDonald’s and Five Guys and Andy Shallal, the owner of restaurant, cafe and community gathering place Busboys and Poets spoke about the realities of opening up in an emerging neighborhood, creating a stable business model and how businesses can transform an area.
The big question of the evening, however, was directed at Shallal.
“So, are you going to do it? Are you opening a Busboys in Anacostia?” asked the moderator.
“I am going to open a Busboys and Poets east of the river,” said Shallal, to an eruption of cheers. “When is the question.”
Shallal didn’t offer the group too many exact details, just mentioning that he had been “talking to some operators.” Last month, Housing Complex reported that Shallal was looking at the space currently occupied by Uniontown Bar and Grill. Shallal didn’t address that, but did say that he was waiting for the right space, one that was in the “sweet spot,” presumably the area around the intersection of Martin Luther King Avenue and Good Hope Road SE (map), near Honfleur Gallery, Big Chair Coffee and The Hive.
Shallal elaborated on his vision for Busboys a bit more, seeming anxious to get in quickly to assume the position of an early adopter in the slowly rising neighborhood. He is currently on the Board of the Anacostia Community Museum, he told the group, and is interested in representing the history of Anacostia appropriately in the new Busboys, just as the original is inspired by the history of U Street and the Hyattsville location seeks to serve local artists with their in-house art store. “I always do my research on a community,” Shallal assured the group.
In the four other locations, Busboys seemed able to accelerate excitement around a neighborhood. Can it do the same for Anacostia?
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/busboys_hopes_to_set_up_in_anacostia/5572
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