Kabul House to relocate in Evanston to accommodate growing popularity

Gabby Grossman, Reporter

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Kabul House, a popular Afghan restaurant in downtown Skokie, will be closing its doors to move to a larger venue in Evanston with an expanded menu by the end of 2016.

The restaurant is set to open at 2424 Dempster St., the former location of Chicken and Waffles, which closed its doors in April of 2015. The city lost over $100,000 in a loan to the restaurant that was only partially paid back before the restaurant closed.

The new location in Evanston will allow for the the restaurant to accommodate its rapidly growing customer base, Kabul House owner Akmal Qazi said. The current venue has just one dining room and one kitchen, he said.

“Now, we will have three kitchens, a dining space that is three times the size of this one, an open bar, a tea lounge and a party room,” Richard Gonzalez, a waiter at Kabul House said.

Gonzalez said throughout his three years at the restaurant he has seen new customers and regulars alike come in everyday. One family came all the way to Skokie from Ohio to eat at Kabul House after hearing about the restaurant from a friend, he said.

The restaurant often gets backed up during busy times like weekends due to the popularity and small size, Gonzalez said.

“It’s hard. Because of the current size, we can get up to a three hour wait when it gets busy,” he said.

Juwairiyyah Fatima, a Skokie native and SESP freshman, said she and her family have been going to Kabul House since it opened, but it has been getting harder and harder to get in on the weekends.

“We can’t go on weekends if we don’t want to wait at least an hour,” Fatima said. “I’m excited it will be a lot bigger so that won’t happen.”

The original Kabul House, opened by Qazi’s parents, was located in Evanston before his parents shut the restaurant down in 2008. Qazi decided to move the restaurant to Skokie and reopen its doors in 2010.

Qazi also owns and runs a seafood restaurant called The Boiler Shrimp and Crawfish in Skokie.

It will be an emotional move, Gonzalez said.

“But it’s a really good change and exciting opportunity to go back home to Evanston where the restaurant was originally located 20 years ago,” he said.

He added that he hopes in coming back home to Evanston, Kabul House can continue impacting its community. Kabul House plans to donate food through food drives and to host events in Evanston, Qazi said.

“We believe that making ourselves aware of our community ultimately leads to our success too,” Qazi said.

Hospitality is a key aspect of the Afghan culture, and Kabul House is hoping to show people the impact of both Afghan food and Afghan hospitality, Qazi said.

Some customers recognize the kindness that Qazi describes as well.

“The employees are so nice and welcoming; it’s very cultural,” Fatima said. “I haven’t heard of any other restaurants that are like that and that serve authentic Middle Eastern food in Evanston.”

The date of the opening has not yet been determined, but will be announced on Kabul House’s Facebook page in November, Qazi said.

Email: gabriellegrossman2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @gabbygrossman13

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