Signs went up at 3800 Lee Highway last year announcing the arrival of Kite Runner Cafe and now the restaurant is celebrating its first full week in business.
The restaurant began serving food over the weekend for both its soft opening and grand opening. Owner Homayon Karimy is originally from Afghanistan and has lived in Pakistan, but Arlington is where is heart is.
“This is home, Arlington is home,” he said. “We’re very happy to be here. Every foreigner says America is the land of opportunity and we want to have that opportunity.”
Prior to opening his own restaurant, Karimy worked at the Lebanese Taverna Market (4400 Old Dominion Drive). His years of experience there helped prepare him for his new venture. Plus, he grew particularly fond of the Cherrydale area.
“I’ve worked in this area only a quarter mile away so I know everyone here. I know people at the Cherrydale Hardware store, I know people at the bank, at the Safeway. I know a lot of people here and Arlington is very close to me,” Harimy said. “Cherrydale in particular because I notice that there is a very neighborhood type of feel. People care about each other, it’s a great community.”
Kite Runner Cafe mainly focuses on Afghan food but also has some Lebanese and Indian dishes. The menu is still being tweaked while employees figure out which dishes will and will not work well in the given kitchen space, which Karimy originally anticipated would be larger.
“The first month is always crazy. In the beginning when you open, there’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong. The other day our A.C. unit started leaking, the day of the grand opening, so I’m like, great. Today the soda machine stopped working,” he said. “Everyday there’s something new, but these are the challenges that come with a business. But we’re very positive.”
Another challenge is that immediately upon opening the doors, Kite Runner Cafe was packed. That, Karimy says, is a welcome problem.
Karimy notes that the restaurant is a family based business. A number of his family members help out there including his parents, sister and cousin.
“It’s a family effort, it’s a family business that we all want to share with the rest. We come from a different country with a different culture but we want to bring that to the people,” he said. “Afghanistan has great food. We don’t just want to hold onto that, we want to share it.”
Eventually, plans for Kite Runner Cafe include delivery service and catering. Until then, employees will focus on providing delicious food and friendly service.
“Come and give us a try. We’re very open to feedback,” said Karimy. “We’re here to serve, we’re here to delight people.”
Tonight the restaurant will team up with its neighbors in the 3800 Lofts building, Subway and House of Steep, for a mixer event from 7:00-8:00 p.m. There will be food samples paired with House of Steep’s tea and snacks from Subway.