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Women-Only Restaurant Opens in Western Afghanistan

Men are not allowed inside the restaurant, but can order food from the takeout window.


Western-Afghanistan is now home to its first women-only restaurant. Called the Scranton Restaurant, it's named after the Pennsylvania town that helped owner Suraya Pakzad open the restaurant, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pakzad — who is a respected female activist — notes that the restaurant is a "rare place" where Afghani women of any age can "socialize outside of their homes in safety."

It's also a place where women can hold meetings, host parties, or grab coffee away from "male harassment." The restaurant provides women with jobs in a country that prefers women remain in the home. While men are not permitted inside the restaurant, they are allowed to order food from the takeout window.

After Pakzad obtained land from the city and support from the Finnish government to build the structure of the restaurant, she began working with two women based in Scranton to raise funds to outfit the operation. The Morning Call notes that the project eventually garnered support from Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey who also helped raise funds for the project.

Their efforts appear to have paid off: The restaurant has six tables, which often isn't enough for the number of customers that visit. Pakzad tells the Inquirer that she is frequently asked when she will open another location, which may actually be a possibility in the near future. The group of women in Scranton are "organizing more help for that effort, and hope for a fundraiser in Philadelphia."

Perhaps Pakzad can open a location in Saudi Arabia where a handful of restaurant owners recently came under fire for banning single females from eating in their establishments.