Fort Collins is no stranger to vast amounts of unique cuisines, and the Maza Kabob restaurant on South College is no exception.
Though Maza Kabob has been in Fort Collins for nearly three years, not many residents are familiar with the Afghanistan-inspired restaurant located on 2427 S. College Ave.
“Even the GPS cannot find us,” said owner Sayed Sayied. “Unfortunately a lot of people don’t know about us yet. (We have) first-time customers almost every day.”
Though it is unfamiliar for many Fort Collins residents, Maza Kabob has been ranked first out of 466 restaurants on tripadvisor.com for Fort Collins restaurants to visit.
One of the reasons for the positive reviews may be because the menu offers a variety of Afghan dishes made from scratch by Sayied.
“Our rice takes almost an hour and a half,” Sayed said. “Just to make onions for number eight and nine dishes takes one hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours.”
Maza Kabob offers food from chicken to eggplant dishes, but the Sayieds said that the kabobs were the most sought-after meal.
“We sell a lot of kabobs,” Sayied said. “Besides kabobs, eggplant and dumpling, these two are very very popular.”
With every dish, restaurant-goers also receive an Afghan salad and yogurt salad. The original menu hasn’t been altered since its creation because everything sells the same, said co-owner Fariha Sayied.
The dedication to food quality is a large part of the positive reviews that the restaurant receives.
“We drive from Longmont to eat in this place, we love it,” customer Tom Berlinger said.
The owners of this restaurant have a history as rich and unique as the food they serve.
Sayed and Fariha Sayied left Afghanistan in the 1980s. Fariha came straight to Fort Collins, earning a CSU degree in botany and microbiology. Along with helping run the restaurant, she now works at Summit Plant Laboratories, Inc.
“I help with them for a couple of days and then the rest of the week help us with our business,” Fariha said.
Sayed on the other hand has always been working towards his dream of cooking authentic Afghan cuisine. He started cooking back at his family home in Afghanistan, and pursued various eatery ventures in the United States, including owning a hot dog stand in Denver for 17 years before finally opening Maza Kabob in 2011.
“I said ‘we can make it,'” Sayed said. “I was sure about our food.”
For Sayed, it has been surprising how many different people enjoyed his food.
“Anybody from any relation will come and they like our food,” he said. “People open a restaurant and it’s another burger, another pizza, another Mexican food, another Italian food. Ours is just different, completely different food. But we’re successful.”
Collegian A&E Writer Sierra Cymes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sierra_cymes.