Who's behind the restaurant?

The city of Kabul
Photo Gallery Trip to Kabul 2004
Photo Gallery Trip to Kabul 2005
Photo Gallery Trip to Kabul 2005 (2)

Who's behind the restaurant?

Serving the cuisine of Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul is a unique gem Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. As owner Wali Khairzada explains it, the ancient city of Kabul lay at the crossroads of trade between India and Central Asia, where for centuries, merchants, conquerors and explorers passed through, leaving their cultural influences behind, along with the finest delicacies from across the Asian continent.

The son of Afghan bankers, Khairzada originally came to the United States in 1972 to study at New York University. In 1978, Afghanistan’s communist parties joined together to orchestrate a coup d’etat against the Afghan king. Khairzada says at the time, he was in India for medical care. His father feared that if his son came back to Kabul, he would not be allowed to return to the United States, as that country was recalling its embassy staff. Khairzada’s father quickly arranged for Khairzada to return to the U.S.

Then the new socialist Afghan government nationalized the country’s industry and financial institutions, freezing the assets of Khairzada’s family. Khairzada could no longer afford NYU, so he got a job and took classes part time at a New Jersey community college. In 1975, his student visa expired. He knew that to return to his country meant joining the army and fighting his own people. His father worked with colleagues in New York to arrange for Khairzada and his sister to receive political asylum in the United States. In 1976, Khairzada got his first restaurant job at an upscale Continental restaurant in Hackensack, NJ., where he worked until he moved to Seattle. Then, on Christmas Eve 1979, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

Khairzada came to Seattle in 1981 and fell in love with the city, which was surrounded by snow-covered mountains that reminded him of home. He jokes that he started out in Seattle the typical immigrant way, by franchising a 7-11 store.

Kabul was opened in 1992 by Slawomir Pytlasinski, a Polish immigrant. He recruited Afghan native Sultan Malikyar to create the restaurant for him, and Malikyar in turn brought in his fellow countryman, Khairzada, to run the business. Malikyar came from a family that had operated restaurants in Afghanistan. In 1994, the pair bought out the original owner, and in June 2000, Khairzada bought out Malikyar’s share of the restaurant. [read on]

Kabul: Seattle’s choice for Afghan cuisine
Zachary D. Lyons
Colors NW magazine - May 2002


The city of Kabul

Kabul, the capitol of Afghanistan, is an ancient city, lying at an altitude of almost 6,000 feet at the crossroads of trade between India and Central Asia, leading to the famous Silk Route travelled by Marco Polo in the 14th century.

It is the site of towns since antiquity, called Kubha in the Rigveda (about 1500 B.C.) and Kabura by Ptolemy (second century A.D.). The city was disputed between many invaders: in the fourth centruy B.C. it was part of the empire of Alexander the Great, became part of the Islamic world by the 9th century A.D. and suffered destruction from the hordes of Genghiz Khan in the 13th century. Babur Shah, founder of the Mughal empire of India, made Kabul his capital in the 16th century, and Timur Shah of the Durrani dynasty made it the capital of Afghanistan in the late 18th century.

In spite of British and Russian invasions in the 19th and 20th centuries the city has survived and is now a metropolis with almost two million inhabitants. Sitting astride of the "Gateway to India", Kabul became famous for its cuisine which combines the choicest delicacies of Asian dishes creating a unique culinary experience.

Photo Gallery Trip to Kabul 2004

Choose a thumbnail to view the image in a larger size.

Yours Truly Amirkhan, Our Driver Apartment in Our Family Compound
Doorway to Pyadakhana Saraie Kalan (The House I Was Born in) Saraie Kalan (Side View)
Afghan Kids Swimming Pool at Uncle Sher Jan's House Walis & Waise's House (Back View)
Walis & Waise's House Political Posters Are Attached to the Family Compound Walls Community Mosque Built by Abba Jan
Abba Jan's Residence Uncle Sultan's car The Daughter of Aunt Salleha Jan's Maid
Maids' Daughter Maids' Daughter Baba Jan's House at Allahdin
End of a Dynasty Nanwayee at Shah Shahid Nanwayee at Shah Shahid
Boys atop A Deystroyed Soviet Tank Children Gathered in Our Family Cemetery Children in Cemetery
A Child in Cemetery Final Resting Place of Abba Jan, Bibi Jan and Bobo Jan Uncle's Discussing Business at Shah Shahid
Children at Shah Shahid Kabul Airport The Best Melon of the World
Homes at Asmaee Koh Wall of Kabul at Asmaee Koh Rebuilding in Kabul
Destroyed Homes in Our Compound Destroyed Homes in Our Compound