Two years late, Khyber Pass celebrates 25 years on Lake St.

Lovers of dainty potato and pea samosas, orange-hued chicken tikka masala, and fluffy garlic naan bread have trusted Khyber Pass, 1031 Lake St., to satisfy their cravings for more than a quarter of a century. The downtown Oak Park restaurant is turning back the clock two years to celebrate its 25th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 16. The pandemic squelched plans for a proper celebration and now, as the restaurant nears its 27th birthday, owner Malik Jawid is eager to celebrate as if it was the major milestone he missed.

Malik Jawid is welcoming guests into Khyber Pass to celebrate the milestone anniversary that passed them by during the pandemic. Credits: Elsmo

“I always believed I would make it because I gave it my all,” said Jawid with just a hint of pride. “I had a passion for the business and knew good food and good service could get me through anything.”

Jawid emigrated from Punjab, Pakistan to Chicago in 1987 where he immediately found a job as busboy at Viceroy of India in East Rogers Park. Though the restaurant is now permanently closed, Jawid worked his way up from busboy to manager and learned the ins-and-outs of the restaurant business. He never worked in the kitchen but has a deep appreciation for nuanced Indian dishes and the Pakistani fare of his homeland.