Winooski, VT — Vermont’s first Afghan restaurant, Bamyan Kebab House, opened last week. Brothers Awran and Wazirgul Hashimi hope their new restaurant can bring the Afghan community together.
“One of the reasons that I opened this restaurant was because Vermont accepted a good number of new Afghan refugees and especially in Chittenden County,” Awran said. “I decided to open this restaurant as a place for them to come together and feel it as a home to celebrate some of their most important occasions and holidays in Afghan calendars.”
Awran also hopes to introduce the Afghan food and cultures to the people of Vermont.
“This place is where they come and meet new Afghans and they eat Afghan foods and get to know more about Afghans and the positive stories that Afghans have to share with them,” Awran said.
Chef Wardak Karimi is among the Afghan refugees newly resettled in the U.S. after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Karimi has been in Vermont for five months.
“It has been a little bit challenging in the beginning, but the people are supportive and friendly here and they have accepted me with open arms,” Karimi said. “The reason that I come to work here is because is it is the first Afghan restaurant in Vermont and I want to cook Afghan foods. It’s a good way to have work and introduce Afghan cultures.”
The manager, Najia Anwari, said the food is completely different from anything you can find in the state.
“It feels like home, that I am in Afghanistan and going to a restaurant and eat Afghan food and traditional food and it feels really good for me,” Anwari said.
There are about 260 Afghan refugees that have arrived in Vermont over the last several months.
“My demand is that we can be as supportive as we can to them because they are forced to leave their homes and it doesn’t matter how undeveloped or how bad the area was that they were living,” Awran said. “It still was a home and they left it, and were forced to come. They want to have a peaceful and successful life here.”
The Bamyan Kebab House will be open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.