Busboys and Poets

2021 14th St NW,
Washington, DC 20009
websiteBusboys and Poets (Washington, D.C.)4 stars

Busboys and Poets is an interesting concept for Washington D.C. — it’s more than just a restaurant. This spot is something of a work of art in and of itself, both as a spot where you can buy and read the latest books, and a place where poetry and spoken word can be shared. While I’ve never encountered something quite like it in my travels, it was the menu that brought me to Busboys and Poets, and it’s the menu that really sticks with me since then. What an interesting idea! And it’s definitely worth a visit.

Busboys and Poets - Seitan Panini

The beauty of this menu is that it is very accaccommodating special diets. Many of the items are vegetarian, some are vegan, and some are also made gluten-free to support certain dietary restrictions. Overall a very accommodating menu. Some of the great items on the menu:

  • Tempeh panini: This vegan panini is made with tempeh, a soy-based vegan product that often substitutes for meat because of its thick texture, as well as vegan mayo, arugula, roasted red peppers and sautéed onions. The tempeh is naturally light on flavor, so the vegan mayo adds a little bit of a spice to the panini, and the veggies give it an added dimension. Delicious to be sure.
  • Veggie pizza: A thick-crust pizza light on the sauce, topped with asparagus, roasted red pepper, mushrooms and goat cheese. The delicious part of this pizza is that it’s got a very crispy crust, not too greasy, but texturally spot on. The toppings are in just enough quantity to give it a personality, and the quality is there.

The restaurants get pretty crowded during the lunch hour, so a line can be expected especially if you visit during peak hours. The food takes a bit longer than average to get to you as well, so I might not suggest this spot if you are on a time crunch. That said though, the service is very friendly, the people are enjoyable and the scenery in the restaurant is great.

In all, this spot is an interesting idea, and a creative concept that appeals to progressive Washington. Definitely worth a visit!


  • The spot is very friendly to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-allergic diners. Those are pretty large demographics, especially in Washington, so it’s worth mentioning them.
  • The price points are fair, but the spot can take a little longer than average to get food out. Consider this spot, but be prepared to wait.
  • The mixed drinks are excellent, as are the beer selections. Great experience.

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