Lots of Hyattsville residents are excited about the opening of Busboys and Poets—at 5331 Baltimore Avenue—especially the managers of nearby bars and restaurants.
Staff at Elevation Burger and Franklin’s told Patch that they and other dining establishments in the neighborhood expect to see more foot traffic as an indirect result of more people coming out to the new Busboys.
“If Elevation Burger opens in Hyattsville, it might not mean much at first to people who don’t live in Hyattsville,” said Ed Gruin, owner of the Elevation Burger across from Busboys at 5501 Baltimore Ave. “But then they come out to Busboys and they say ‘Hey, there’s an Elevation Burger down the street. Let’s go check it out.’”
“The more businesses that open, the more people it brings in,” he said. “We think it’s a good draw all across the board.”
The new Busboys and Poets, which debuted on Monday, has a food menu and drink options that are both as diverse as those of other local restaurants. But it sets itself apart by the cultural events that it will host week after week—open-mic poetry readings, live music, author expos and more.
Franklin’s at 5121 Baltimore Ave. has been a popular bar and restaurant since its opening in 1992, but it does not feature live events.
owner of emphasized that the array of cultural activities is one that no other place in town currently offers. Busboys is a unique place that satisfies a unique market demand, he said.
“Hyattsville is emerging as a cultural area, and we want to provide the services that people here need,” he said.
That’s one of the reasons that Rachel Aughenbaugh, a manager at Franklin’s, personally looks forward to checking Busboys out. As she told Patch, more nightlife options are always a plus.
“It’s good to have other options in town, so that it’s not just Franklin’s,” she said.
Of course, Busboys could be a competitor, she acknowledged. But like Gruin, she anticipates that more restaurants in town will ultimately generate more customers for everyone.
Franklin’s is historical proof, she said. Since its opening in 1992, a plethora of new restaurants have opened up shop along the street.
“Mike [Franklin] opened the store in 1992 when there was nothing going on,” she said. “I’m seeing the fruits of his labor now. Hyattsville is a lot more vibrant, and Franklin’s has had a big part in that.”
In any case, more customers coming to Busboys does not mean fewer customers coming to other restaurants. Those older establishments with longstanding customer bases can count on the power of brand loyalty. Pat Walsh, a Baltimore resident, goes to Franklin’s when he comes to visit friends in the Hyattsville area, and he intends to continue to do so.
“I probably wouldn’t go to other bars besides Franklin’s, even if a new one opened up,” he said.