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Busboys & Poets Brunch

Here I sit
With my shoes mismatched.
I’s frustrated!
-Langston Hughes


“Where is Cori Sue?” Her boyfriend, sweaty from pedaling to Busboys & Poets to find her, wheezes and frantically searches the restaurant with his eyes.

“Woah, there. Sit down. Calm down.” I say, popping open my laptop and pushing my glass of water across the table to him.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

For reasons that only Cori Sue can explain, the couple had decided to move the weekend she was in midst of her graduate finals. And, in the middle of all this moving and final-ing, at that very moment, dearest CS was leisurely window-shopping 14th street’s furniture stores on her way to brunch with me.

After frantically trying to find her – along with finagling male friends to help him move furniture, and collecting a U-Haul all at the same time – her boyfriend slumped in the booth across from me, defeated, and ordered a beer. Ten minutes later, cool as a cucumber, she glides in, pets his head, orders a latte, and sets forth an orderly plan of action. And off he goes.

Amazing, that Cori Sue.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

The Bitches were brunching together at Busboys & Poets because we actually had some real work to get done. Quite unexpectedly, this little website has taken off (thanks to you, dearest readers), and so occasionally, now, we have to spend some quality time handling all the Bitching.

The beauty of Busboys & Poets is that it’s not simply a great, no-frills restaurant, it’s also a remote office for a lot of locals. And a bookstore. And a coffee shop. And a theater. And quite a few other things. In the few years since it opened its flagship at 14th and V, it has become something of a D.C. institution – a local hub for writers and artists. If you didn’t know, the name of the restaurant is an homage to American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 1920s.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Perhaps made for starving artists who want to sit and work, the restaurant’s service is accommodating and the menu affordable. Whether you’re there for tea and WiFi or for a vino-heavy three-course meal, the servers will happily reach over a tangled web of computer cords to refill your drink for hours on end.

When Cori Sue asked the waitress if she could have her coffee iced, she was told they could make her whatever her heart wanted, whether it was on the menu or not. So, she ordered her typical “dirty chai” (a chai latte with a shot of espresso, often known as a chaipuccino) iced, made with skim milk. The waitress readily accepted her high-maintenance request and came back with a delicious dirty chai generously flavored with plenty of cinnamon.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

The brunch menu is ridiculously affordable—nearly all options are less than $10, which is nearly unheard of in Washington. They add local, organic field greens from the Engaged Community Offshoots (ECO) farm network to all their salads. The beef comes from Grayson Farms where cows are free-range, grass-fed and not given any hormones or antibiotics. The chicken is halal.

I had the classic Eggs Benedict, which was served with home fries and grits. It was a solid Benedict offering with Canadian ham, the eggs poached perfectly and the bread nice and warm. The hollandaise sauce wasn’t anything wild or special, but it hit the spot for the price. Busboys also offers Florentine (spinach) and Neptune (crab) Benedicts, along with buckwheat pancakes and Mekhleme (Iraqi “corned beef” hash) for brunch.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Cori Sue opted for the French toast, served with a side of fresh fruit and scrambled eggs. There’s something comforting about getting exactly what you’d expect when you order, and Busboys & Poets does just that. When she ordered her French toast, a plate of two slices of fluffy toast, standard-yet-satisfying scrambled eggs, and a cup of fresh fruit arrived. It was a typical yet delicious breakfast, and sometimes, that’s exactly what you need—no surprises, but just what the doctor ordered. The fruit was fresh, and contained her three favorites—pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries—so major kudos for that.

We set to work. During brunch with our laptops, the lovely Helena Andrews joined us for coffee. Her new book, “Bitch is the New Black” certainly has a ring to it, don’t you think? I’m in the middle of reading it – and trying not to choke on my coffee on the Metro while laughing over her beautiful, hilarious personal essays. The paperback is coming out in May 24 (but you can buy the hardcover here), and we’re likely going to co-host an event to celebrate all things that are truly Bitching, blogs and books included. So, stay tuned for that.

The Bitches say: A, for affordable quality cuisine, attentive, skilled servers and a lively nurturing ambiance that makes you want to stay awhile.

Busboys & Poets
2021 14th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C.


11 thoughts on “Busboys & Poets Brunch”

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  1. Glad you had a good experience at Busboys! I always enjoy their food, but I find the service incredibly hit-or-miss, regardless of time of day or how busy it is (though I suppose they’re almost always busy).

  2. Love their french toast! Best place to get work done in the city and still eat well 🙂

  3. CS and BL,

    I have a final in T minus 30 minutes, and rather than studying, I’m reading your ridiculously entertaining blog. Props to you. No bueno para mi.

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