Anas "Andy" Shallal is a prominent Iraqi-American businessman, who is perhaps best known for combining his passion for activism, art, and sustainability into his Washington, D.C.-based restaurant endeavor, Busboys and Poets. His inspiration for Busboys and Poets, which first opened in 2005 and has since expanded to three other locations in the D.C. area, came from wanting to provide a community space where people could gather, eat together, and engage in productive dialogue. Shallal's vision was to provide a place for social and political activism, so in addition to the restaurant, the space is also home to a fair trade market and bookstore, and is frequently used as an event space for music shows and poetry slams.
In all his endeavors, Shallal has been dedicated to the sustainability movement. Busboys and Poets is a well-known green restaurant that offers vegan menu options and organic wine and beer. His operations are run largely on wind energy, and they use recyclable products wherever possible. Shallal has also been a long-time supporter of Iraqi freedom and he has founded and led several peace movement organizations, including Iraqi Americans for Peaceful Alternatives, which was founded prior to the Iraqi invasion in 2003. Additionally, Shallal has been instrumental in promoting dialogue and understanding between Arabs and Jews, and in 2000, he co-founded The Peace Cafe, which has become the largest Arab Jewish dialogue group in the Washington metropolitan area with 900 members. Shallal is a fellow with Seeds of Peace, has received the United Nations Human Rights Community Award and was named Man of the Year by the Washington Peace Center.