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The latest fast-casual build-your-own-meal restaurant aims to make kabob a little bit more hip. SKWR, which opens Friday at 14th and K streets NW, comes from cousins and George Mason University grads Tamim Shoja and Masoud Shoja, who grew up working in their families’ restaurants, Dulles Kabob and Reston Kabob. Along with their longtime friend Hemad Khwaja, they’re looking to offer an updated take on their native Afghan fare.
Shoja says they’ve been working on recipes for more than two years. The assembly line-style menu offers bowls and wraps with a choice of proteins including ground sirloin, white bean falafel, beef, lamb, and chicken. Patrons can choose three of six spreads (like yogurt and cucumber, hummus, and apple chutney) plus unlimited toppings (carrot slaw, chickpeas, cabbage) and sauces (za’atar yougurt aioli, charred chutney).
SKWR uses Afghan naan roghani bread for its wraps ($8.50). A Persian flatbread called barbari bread made by Lyon Bakery comes complimentary with bowls ($8.80).
Baklava Couture, which sells its Greek pastries at local farmers markets, is supplying dessert ($3). SKWR plans to work with them to eventually produce some custom baklava flavors in addition to signatures like walnut cinnamon, pistachio, and walnut chocolate with sea salt.
Instead of the standard reclaimed wood that seems to decorate every restaurant these days, SKWR is outfitted with charred wood, a nod to the grill’s central role. Shoja points out that even the white and gray marble counter looks like wisps of smoke. Meanwhile, the owners have payed homage to their Afghan roots with blue hues in the chairs and on the wall reminiscent of the country’s prized stone, lapis. “Every little design element there’s a little bit of thought being put behind it to fit some of the themes that go with the food,” Shoja says. “It’s very elemental cooking.”
SKWR will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Take a look at the menu below.
SKWR Kabobline, 1400 K St. NW; skwr.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman