SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A new storefront has opened up in Eastwood, offering Middle Eastern foods to the Syracuse community. The store, Sinbad Restaurant, is owned by Assad Almajid, a Syrian refugee.
When he was a little boy, Assad’s father owned a store, selling sweets and ice cream. Now coming full circle, he’s following in his family’s footsteps, opening up his own store.
“I never thought I would open up a shop with ice cream and sweets,” said Almajid said.
However, it’s not the first time Assad has run a business. Years ago, when he lived in Damascus, Syria, he owned a chocolate factory. But it was destroyed in the Syrian War, along with everything else he owned.
“Everything is unexpected,” Almajid said.
For safety, Assad and his family ran away to the closest Middle Eastern country and three years ago, he sought asylum in Syracuse.
“For everybody who is living outside of the United States, who don’t know what is in the United States, it’s the dream. It is still the country of dreams,” Almajid said.
Not ready to give up on his dreams, Assad is bringing everything he learned from his father to the people of Central New York.
“All that I learned, all that I did, all that’s happened with me from the time I was small until I grew up and came here, it’s all about Syracuse people,” Almajid said.
At Sinbad Restaurant, they’ll be selling Syrian, Moroccan, and Turkish foods. But according to Assad, what will probably be the best seller is their stretchy ice cream, also known as Borjeigh, which is a Syrian specialty.
It’s made by boiling milk, letting it cool, smashing it up, adding the ingredients, and rolling it up. It’s a unique ice cream not often seen here in CNY.
“This is my dream now, for the ice cream, especially,” Almajid said.
Almajid had a soft opening for his restaurant this week but he’s aiming for a grand opening next month. He hopes to eventually expand and open an ice cream factory in Central New York, where he would sell to other stores in the area.