Arlington Kabob has consistently delivered on its promise to serve the community with fresh ingredients and unwavering support.
I recently spoke with the restaurant’s owner, Susan Clementi. Susan established Arlington Kabob in 2013, creating a woman-owned business that has thrived for nearly a decade.
Like many new restaurants, they persevered through the challenging first couple of years to gain momentum.
“I was looking for a building to open my restaurant and was at Linda’s Cafe, which used to be right next to us. I saw a ‘for lease’ sign on the doors of the former pizza restaurant,” Susan shared.
Linda’s Cafe closed in 2018, and now a Bob & Edith’s Diner stands in its place. Susan quickly found herself inside the former pizza restaurant space nearby.
“There were still pizzas left in the refrigerators,” Susan said.
She saw the potential of the building and spent the rest of the day cleaning and scrubbing the walls.
Delving into Susan’s background and story, it was evident that she didn’t crave attention. Instead, she wanted the focus to be on the restaurant, an Afghan cuisine establishment that values its staff, customers, and the food it serves.
At Arlington Kabob, expect to find kabob platters, sandwiches, wraps, in-house made gyros, and desserts like baklava. For drinks, they offer a unique assortment, including Boylans, Calypso, and Mashes.
Mohammad Saeed, the manager at Arlington Kabob, tells me that the local favorite is the Chicken Kabob platter, which comes with two different types of rice, one veggie side, two house sauces, and fresh bread.
“It is the juiciest chicken you will have in the metropolitan area… you’ll find regulars coming from places like Gaithersburg, Gainesville, and Woodbridge,” Mohammed says.
By the way, definitely go for the chickpeas as your veggie side.
Susan’s top priority has always been the freshness and nutritional value of the food served at the restaurant.
“We cook the food twice a day for lunch and dinner… I would rather tell the customer we ran out than have something we need to warm up for them,” Susan says.
“For me, it’s important to know that the food I make for my daughter is what I serve to my customers… my belief is our cooked food should be simple and cooked fresh daily without added preservatives,” Susan said. “We cut all our meat in-house and marinate daily with fresh herbs and spices.”
Susan’s head chef has been with her for the past nine years, and she expresses immense gratitude for him and all her staff for their loyalty during tough times. During the pandemic, she made sure her staff was well taken care of.
“Arlington Kabob isn’t just me, it’s all of us who work here. We are a tight-knit family,” Susan says.
The high standards that Susan sets for staff care and food preparation make one wonder why this level of dedication isn’t more widespread. It should be the minimum, but the food industry today often falls short in employee care and fresh food.
Arlington Kabob also partners with local schools, including Yorktown and Bishop O’Connell high schools, for various fundraising initiatives.
“Any successful restaurant has an owner that is passionate about their food and community,” Susan preaches. “Those are the ones where our kids will one day bring their kids to experience a great meal.”
When you have an owner like Susan, you can almost always guarantee that the food coming out of the restaurant will be a hit. It’s not just good food being served, it’s the good being done behind the scenes that makes all the difference.
Address: 5046 Langston Blvd, Arlington, VA 22207
Nicholas Barahona is a freelance food writer who often posts his food reviews on Instagram.
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