Andy Shallal

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Anas "Andy" Shallal (born March 21, 1955 in Baghdad, Iraq) is an Iraqi-American artist, activist and restaurateur best known for owning and operating Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC.

Early Life

Shallal's father was Ambassador of the Arab League, and moved his family to the United States in 1968. When Saddam Hussein seized power, the Shallals could not return, although other members of the Shallal family still live in DC. As a youth, Andy Shallal worked in his father's pizzeria and took art classes. He later attended Howard University and graduated from Catholic University of America. After graduating, Shallal took a research job in medical immunology at the National Institutes of Health.[1]


Shallal has founded or co-founded several peace movement organizations and holds leadership positions in numerous others. Most prominently, he has served as Foreign Policy in Focus Analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies. At present he is Treasurer and a board member.[2] Among the others:

In 2005, Shallal spoke at the counter-inaugural of President George W. Bush held at Malcolm X Park. Later that year, he visited and provided catering for Cindy Sheehan and other activists at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas.[4] Sheehan later participated in an Impeachment Forum sponsored by Democracy Rising at the U Street Busboys location. Shallal is a recipient of the United Nations Human Rights Community Award and has been named Man of the Year by the Washington Peace Center.


In 1987, Shallal co-founded Skewers in Dupont Circle with his brother, and in the years after, he followed this with Cafe Luna, Luna Grille and Mimi's American Bistro. Shallal later sold these restaurants to focus on Busboys and Poets, located in the U Street neighborhood. He opened the restaurant in 2005, including a bookstore operated by Teaching for Change, performance space and a mural painted by Shallal. The restaurant was an instant success, embraced by the neighborhood and the progressive community, especially among activists opposed to the Iraq War. Busboys' clientele has included Ralph Nader, Cindy Sheehan and Tom Hayden. Shallal opened a second Busboys location in July 2007 and plans to open a third. He is also planning entirely new restaurant concept, possibly named for either Zora Neale Hurston or Sally Hemings.[1]


Shallal painted the mural at IPS's headquarters on 16th street NW, which tells the story of the Institute and social movements it has been involved with. The mural is several hundred square feet and wrapped around a 50-seat square meeting room. Featured in the mural are the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Benjamin Spock and the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. Also included are Chilean diplomat and IPS fellow Orlando Letelier and his assistant Ronni Moffitt, who were killed by a car bomb on Embassy Row in 1976. The mural depicts former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet weeping into a handkerchief. As a board member of IPS, Shallal painted the mural free of charge.

Shallal painted the civil rights mural at Busboys and Poets, called Peace in Struggle Wall. He refuses to sign the civil rights mural at Busboys, saying this would be a "final gesture" that would preclude him from making revisions later.[5]

External links

Resources and articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Shallal to launch third Busboys, a new concept, Erin Killian, Washington Business Journal, July 13, 2007.
  2. Institute for Policy Studies: Trustees,, accessed March 9, 2008.
  3. National Advisory Board, Arab American National Museum, accessed December 5, 2008.
  4. War mother and supporters are settling in for a long siege, Carlos Guerra, San Antonio Express-News, August 16, 2005.
  5. The Muralist, David Montgomery, Washington Post, May 1, 2006.