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Cousins Tamim Shoja and Masoud Shoja grew up working in their families’ restaurants—Dulles Kabob and Reston Kabob, respectively. Now the two, both public relations majors at George Mason University, are breaking out on their own and teaming up with longtime friend Hemad Khwaja to open a trendier fast-casual kabob spot on their own terms. SKWR Kabobline is set to open at 1400 K St. NW—next to the new &pizza—sometime next spring.

“In the back of our heads, we’ve always kind of had this idea that this could be done in a more accessible way, in a better way,” Tamim Shoja says. “We’re going to make it modern—something that will appeal not only to the ethnic community but to the local community as a whole.”

SKWR—”skewer” without the vowels—will be a fast-casual joint a la Chipotle in which guests build their dishes through an assembly line of proteins, salads, and sauces. The menu will have a choice of kebabs: sirloin ground beef, chicken breast, steak, lamb, or white bean falafel. The meats can be topped with a range of sweet and savory chutneys and yogurt-based sauces as well as vegetables, salads, and cheeses. Each meal can be made into a bowl, a wrap, or a mezze plate—a long rectangular platter that separates all the components of the dish rather than piling them on top of each other.

The look of the place aims to convey Middle Eastern architecture and scenery. “We definitely don’t want to go for some old-school, mom-and-pop type of feel,” Tamim Shoja says. “We definitely want it to look eye-catching and beautiful.”

SKWR Kabobline, 1400 K St. NW; skwr.com