Before Maro Tandoors came into being, we all knew of cheese and qeema naans that were served at desi eateries. But after Maro Tandoors, Pakistan got to see a different kind of stuffed naan: a kind it had never seen before.
The four LUMS students who founded Maro Tandoors proudly claim the status of pioneers when it comes to the iconic stuffed naan. While cheese fillings were no secret, the Nutella stuffed naan was a totally unique – and initially befuddling – concept. Their invention of the pizza naan (two words no one ever thought could go together) further cemented Maro Tandoors’ position as the eatery that revolutionised how Pakistanis like to eat naan.
But as more and more copycat eateries rolled into town, Maro Tandoors started to lose its appeal – the kind of appeal that can only come from being the “one and only”. But the story doesn’t end there.
The philosophy behind Maro Tandoors was to introduce clean eating in a tandoor culture that is typically considered unhygienic and only fit for working masses on the street. On that end, it succeeded beyond its wildest imaginings. Not only did people start to take to the idea of cleaner, more well-organised, and increasingly versatile desi eateries but the trend also shed some light on how young educated ‘elites’ could begin to make spaces for themselves within an eating culture they had previously shied away from.
After Maro Tandoors broke the glass ceiling, other eateries began to emerge which combined the desi ‘dhaba’ setup with a hygienic and customised ideology in order to attract a rapidly growing section of young people who wanted to sit in open air to enjoy weird new munchies and sip chai.
Now, it is customary to find groups of teens spending weekend nights at places like Sarrak pe Karrak, What’a Paratha, and Sarrak Kinarey. They enjoy being outdoors, away from stifling noisy restaurants, and the feeling of being re-initiated into a culture and cuisine they felt was lost to them.