Aug 22, 2022 - News

How I wake up: Andy Shallal

Photo illustration collage of Andy Shallal inside a red alarm clock.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Hey, Cuneyt here!

Washington is a town of early risers. At least some of us are. I’m not the biggest morning person!

So I set out to discover how prominent Washingtonians get up and get going. I’ll give you a window into the morning rituals of our local CEOs, creators, politicos, activists, and athletes.

  • Maybe their sunrise habits will rub off on me. And hopefully, it inspires you to live a better morning.

I first talked to Andy Shallal, the founder and CEO of Busboys and Poets. The Iraqi American has a vivid local footprint beyond his entrepreneurship, dating to his activism against the invasion of Iraq and 2014 campaign for D.C. mayor.

⏰ Wake-up time: 6:30am, with the arrival of his nine-month-old German Shepherd Yara.

📲 First thing he does: Quick glance at his phone to make sure no emergencies have popped up.

First person he speaks with: Marjan, his wife. Then it’s a brush of the teeth and a glass of water.

⚽️ First activity: Soccer in the backyard of his Kalorama home with Yara. Then a latte and a yogurt.

  • ☕️ Shallal’s house has a Miele brand built-in “professional grade espresso machine,” one of the big reasons he bought the place.

🌳 Serenity: A 2.5 hour-walk across several city parks, Rock Creek Park, and the Georgetown waterfront.

  • Shallal does calisthenics: pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and leg raises. Yara splashes in the creek. “It’s very meditative watching her.”

Emails: Not until he’s back home. And no headphones on the walk.

  • Lately, Shallal has been learning Spanish using Duolingo for at least 30 minutes in the morning.

11am: His first meeting of the day.

His ride: A silver 2020 Mini Cooper, which he bought because his garage holds about one and a half cars.


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