It isn’t a new phenomenon. Kabobs (kebabs) have been a part of D.C.’s food scene for over 20 years, but many locations were across the bridge in Northern Virginia. Within the last few years, kabobs have been clumped together into one melting pot without any geographic or cultural acknowledgement. Whether it’s Lebanese, Pakistani, or Afghan, the type of kabob received is more dependent on the spice profile of each culture as well as its preparation. So when we heard that SKWR Kabobline was attempting to turn kabobs into a fast casual approach, we were definitely interested.
A trio of young entrepreneurs: Masoud Shoja, Tamim Shoja, and Hemad Khwaja, all have history in the kabob business. Their families ran Dulles and Reston Kabob respectively. Both had cult-like followings. With the latter of the two recently closing, the younger generation of the close-knit family decided to open their own kabob storefront; yet, this time forging into new territory, Washington, D.C.
Located at the busy intersection of 14th and K St. NW, walking in, you immediately notice the calming blues of the decorated interior. The menu isn’t difficult to navigate as like most fast causal places, options are available but not overwhelming. Choose either a bowl or a wrap and three spreads to accompany. We chose something spicy, the cilantro and jalapeno chutney; something standard, the smooth yogurt and cucumber spread; and something we weren’t familiar with, oliveh, a tart like potato salad. Afterwards, a big scoop of hormone-free chicken was neatly placed atop of our small mound of ingredients.
For those who are seeking other proteins, there is ground sirloin, beef, and lamb available. Yet, SKWR Kabobline recognizes that vegetarians and vegans are patrons too, providing a white bean falafel as a choice. Add as many toppings as you please ranging from chickpeas to carrot slaw or their in-house sauces like the za’atar yogurt aioli. And don’t forget the baklava, prepared by Baklava Couture. We couldn’t help but grab the walnut cinnamon which was flaky and not overly sweetened, just the way we like it.
All in all, we’ll be back as it is nice to know we can stop by McPherson Square anytime to enjoy succulent Afghan kabobs without driving into the pits of Virginia.
1400 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Photos: Jai Williams, feature photo courtesy of SKWR Facebook
Jai is a culinary/travel photographer, author whose photography has been seen in publications such as Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Munchies (VICE), and Ad Week. Jai has been with GMF since 2014 is the former GMF Editor-in-Chief. She has photographed for both domestic and international tourism boards. Additionally, her work was selected as a semi-finalist in competitions such as Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s RAMMYs in Focus, and The Historical Society of D.C.’s For the Record. Contributing her photography to books like New York One-Food Wonders and Discovering Vintage Washington, DC, Jai’s creative spirit focuses on the food, beverage, and travel industries. Co-authoring Plantations of Virginia with six-time New York Press Club award winner Charlene C. Giannetti, their book is currently in its third printing within a year of being released. Jai enjoys collaborating with her clients to bring their vision to life.