Andy's Open Road


    Crazy Babbling Sunshine


    Washington, DC


    Public Television: Season 8

  • ON DVD:


Bus Boys and Poets

“I learned from my failures a lot and used them for a launching pad for the next project.”


Entrepreneurship Food Politics


Community Experience Failure Passion Self-Reflection Talent Negativity Perseverance Support & Encouragement Inspiration Success Values Choices Transitions Exploration Family Culture Beliefs & Faith


Communicating / Sharing Stories


conversations, destiny, education system, evolution, happiness, hospitality, immigrant, Iraq, learning, lifestyle, medical school, music, open mind, pleasing others, poetry, politics, quitting, restaurant business, service, trial and error


Andy Shallal moved to the U.S. from Iraq when he was 11 years old—the same year that Saddam Hussein came to power in his native country. After graduating from high school, Andy got into medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C., but soon decided that it was not for him. He wasn't afraid to leave what many would consider a prestigious and stable career in the medical field. But Andy was set on finding something he was passionate about. So, he moved out to the West Coast in search of something new and started working as a waiter. He soon realized that the restaurant business was something he really loved. He then decided to try his hand at opening up his own restaurant in Northern Virginia. After running several other restaurants and closing them, in 2005 he opened Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. Andy's mission for this restaurant was to have a gathering place for people of all different incomes, races, and identities to come together and exchange ideas about social and political issues. Busboys and Poets today remains a popular restaurant and community resource for artists, activists, writers, thinkers, and dreamers.

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