Arlington, VA

Courthouse’s Afghan Kabob House is shutting down the grills this week after just over a decade in business.

Restaurant owner Akbar Madany, who describes himself as the “creator” of the restaurant, said his business at 2045 Wilson Blvd will officially close at midnight this Thursday, October 31.

“There are food trucks in front of my restaurant — six or seven of them — for the past almost three years now, selling my similar food right in front of my restaurant,” said Madany, when asked of what led him to close up shop in the space the restaurant occupies between the UPS location and Ireland’s Four Courts.

Afghan Kabob House is known for its array of grilled meats, hookah tables, and for staying open until 3 a.m. — whether it’s for Iftar or your average workday — for the last 11 years.

In 2015, the restaurant joined a coalition of area restaurants that urged more regulation on food trucks to prevent the mobile food vendors from hurting brick-and-mortar restaurants — a disagreement that gained an edge later that year when a food truck hit one of the Afghan Kabob House’s food delivery cars.

Since then, the county has loosened regulations on food trucks, allowing the vendors to operate along more Courthouse streets and serve up grub for longer hours.

“I fought with the county… about this for many years,” Madany told ARLnow today (Monday). “We had many many meetings, but we got nowhere with them.”

The restaurateur also said that business struggled as third-party delivery apps like Postmates flooded the market.

“They took a lot of my deliveries away,” he said, noting that he tried joining Uber Eats but the company’s high rates didn’t help. “I had to partner with them, but I don’t make money out of them because of the commission they charge — 33% commission.” 

Madany added that rising rents around the area meant offices moved away, taking regular customers with them. Still, he told ARLnow that he wanted to thank people for their loyalty, saying, “it breaks my heart to sell something that I love so dearly but the time has come.” 

In 2011, the county profiled his business for a county TV segment on how he hand-marinates and grills the meat.

“Ever since I came to the States it was a dream for me to open a restaurant because I grew up in the business,” he said in the video. “I wanted to create something on my own, something I could call home, something I could feel a part of.”

Now, he says watching the video “just makes me sad.”

Update on 10/30/19 — “Courthouse Kabob” will be opening in Afghan Kabob House’s place shortly after it closes.

Image via Google Maps

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