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Critically Lauded Pop-up Karachi Cowboys Plans New Capitol Hill Restaurant

It launched a Kickstarter with the aim of opening in June

A selection of dishes from pop-up Karachi Cowboys on a table; one man in a flannel shirt presents a plate of kheema over rice with pickled onions on top
Karachi Cowboys launched in 2019 and quickly built a reputation as one of the best pop-ups in town.
Karachi Cowboys [Official Photo]

After two years building a strong following for its aloo sliders with tamarind barbecue sauce, pickled cauliflower, and other great bar snacks, roving pop-up Karachi Cowboys has found a place to settle down. Per an official Instagram announcement, the operation — which mixes Pakistani and Indian fare with Texas barbecue influences — plans to open a restaurant on 12th Avenue in the historic Ballou Wright building. It’s launched a Kickstarter to help with some costs as it aims for a June debut, as Capitol Hill Seattle reported.

“We’re excited about putting down roots,” says co-owner and chef Nasir Zubair, a Houston native who launched the pop-up in 2019 at Ballard pizzeria Delancey. As he developed the menu, Zubair brought elements of Pakistani home cooking from his family, alongside some Indian flavors and the barbecue techniques he learned growing up in Texas. Last summer, the pop-up earned praise from the likes of the Seattle Times for its inventive dishes.

Since its 2019 launch, Karachi Cowboys has appeared at locations such as Holy Mountain Brewing, Mean Sandwich, Fair Isle Brewing, and Alexandra’s Macarons, and even did a collaboration with Cookie’s Country Chicken on a halal fried chicken sandwich with spice rub, cumin pickled onions, and cilantro mint chutney mayo.

The pop-up has also appeared regularly at its future location, 1517 12th Avenue, where bottleshop Glinda sells a selection of natural wine. The two businesses will share the space, with Glinda presenting its offerings for retail inside the restaurant once Karachi Cowboys is up and running. The pop-up’s Kickstarter has raised about $8,000 of its $50,000 so far, and should help get the restaurant to the finish line, as it continues to finalize details. Some additional dishes Zubair is working on include salads and desserts, and he promises a few cocktail offerings, in addition to wine and beer.

The space won’t be huge — about 24 seats indoors and room for eight on an outdoor patio at full capacity — but Karachi Cowboys hopes to make it a welcoming environment, open for lunch and dinner to start, with a pantry of retail items and food that honors halal. “Our heart is to be a part of the fabric of this neighborhood and to create community through good food and conversation,” said the statement on the Kickstarter page.