Located in the heart of the downtown Lincoln restaurant scene, The Sultan’s Kite offers fresh, authentic Mediterranean food to the people of the Cornhusker state. We don’t limit ourselves to being a falafel or gyro restaurant. Our gyros and falafels are some of the best in Lincoln, but we also serve other awesome Mediterranean dishes such as Chicken Shawarma, Chicken Tikka Korma, and Baklava that will blow your taste buds away.
Sultan likes his food fresh. That’s why at The Sultan’s Kite, we make almost all our food from scratch in the restaurant everyday. You aren’t going to find a better Mediterranean restaurant anywhere in Lincoln.
Don’t believe us?
Check out our surplus of 5-Star reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Or better yet, come see for yourself!
A few words from the Sultan:
Hello, my name is Sultan Attaie and I have been living in Lincoln since about 1991. I graduated from UNL with a Bachelors in Management of Information Systems and a minor in Business. After college I worked in the private sector as a systems operator for a company here in town. I quickly realized that sitting in front of a computer screen all day with the majority of my social interaction being through e-mail was not a good fit for me.
Around the age of 15 I got my first job in a restaurant and stayed there for about 17 years, even after receiving my degree. Folks would ask me, “Why aren’t you doing something with your degree?” In my mind I was doing something with my degree, not with my major but instead with my minor. In the restaurant I was able to see the ins and outs of the business world and my favorite part was the social interaction and the networking I was able to do. Being a social guy in those 17 years, I met people from around the globe and from every line of work who gave me advice, ideas, and most of all memories that still make me laugh.
The idea for Sultan's Kite was a bit of a whirlwind experience approximately five years ago. I had read the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and in it there was a quote that always stuck with me: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
I don't want to give off the idea that it was luck or chance that led me to finding the right location or meeting the right people to help me getting something as simple as the furniture I needed. However, for the first time it appeared that the signs were pointing to yes, there were not as many obstacles or concerns as I had previously imagined. I no longer had any more excuses not to bring this plan to action.
After creating my business model I decided that the worst thing that can happen in this entire scenario is I will close after maybe a year or so and if that's the worst thing, I could handle it. That gave me enough courage to continue.
Dedication is spending 10-12 hours in the blistering summer heat without air conditioning painting the walls of your new business. It requires you to be honest with yourself about your business and ask yourself what the customer would see as appealing. It's really important for me to have my customers come and sit in a nice environment with a relaxed but authentic atmosphere that will deliver simple, delicious, and healthy meals that they were able to help create with their own unique tastes.
The name was a very difficult process for me. I had tried so many different things that just didn't sound right or sounded too generic for my tastes. I wanted something that I could call my own but also identify it with something that could be attached to a logo. I came up with the idea for “The Kite" or "Sultan's Kite" due to a popular book at the time The Kite Runner which had made a lot of people look at Afghanistan differently. Almost immediately my siblings who helped me with the initial stages and who continue to work for me today did not like the idea.
By this time I was used to the opposition and decided to go with it anyway and use a nice kite as a branding logo. This is how I handled the food situation as well. I had a general idea in mind of what I wanted to include and serve to people with the help of my Mother, Shila. As a fantastic cook herself she continues to be my consultant on taste, cooking, and what people will like to eat.
The genre of Mediterranean cuisine gave me the opportunity to mix the simplicity of Middle Eastern street food like our homemade falafel or Greek dishes like gyros with some simplified Afghani food like our Chicken Tikka Korma under one Afghan-Arab-Greek fusion.
The Chipotle-style ordering model worked great for me because one, I have a narrow restaurant so keeping people moving is the best option and two, it helps people to take simple dishes and really make them their own with different sauces, toppings, and meats. My menu has about four items overall but the customer then has the opportunity to mix and match those four quality tasting items to fit their mood.
Here's an example: If I'm a regular customer and I just love the homemade falafel, I can get that falafel on a pita like I always do, or over rice, in a wrap, or on a salad for something lighter. Next I can choose between three spiced taziki sauces (mild white, medium red, or spicy green sauce) to change how that falafel will taste on this particular day. This exact set of options can be applied to the gyro meat, chicken shawarma, or the chicken tikka korma dish. This way customers can always "eat like a Sultan" and have their favorite dishes done a little differently each time.
Now let’s talk about our main dishes:
Chicken Tikka Korma translates to chicken pieced stew to help explain the exotic name a bit. It is a traditional stew made from all white meat chicken breast pieces marinated in several traditional Afghani spices to create a stew. The stew is based on savory ingredients like onions, tomatoes, and garlic to keep the flavor rich. Unlike the Indian sub-continent, we do not use cream in our stew as that is not popular in Afghani cooking. Chicken Tikka Korma tastes best over our steamed rice.
Falafel is said to have started in Egypt. It’s basically a version of a fried vegetarian patty that tastes similar to meat, but is instead made from fava beans or chickpeas with some spices. It makes a delicious meal that packs some fiber and natural ingredients that will keep you full during your busy work day.
Gyro is a Greek food that has made its way all over the Middle East and is traditionally made from all spiced lamb meat. However, here we use a mixture of beef and lamb to counter the strong lamb taste and accommodate a milder flavor. It's spiced with garlic, onion, and black pepper.
Chicken Shawarma is grilled and marinated chicken that is cut to be served in any fashion the customer would like. This goes great in any style and is a favorite over salad in the summer time.
In looking to the future I hope to continue to have a great customer base who continue to make coming to work every day really enjoyable for me. I hope to continue to work hard and grow Sultan's Kite as a business to become a Lincoln staple that people will continue to enjoy for years to come.
I hope to see you soon,
Sunday - Thursday | 10:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday/Saturday | 10:30 AM - 2:30 AM