America's 1st Syrian Ice Cream Maker Launches in Syracuse
John DeSantis, left, and Assad Almajid, right
Assad Almajid is launching the first ever Syrian ice cream restaurant in the United States right here in Syracuse! It’s called Sinbad’s Sweets and Ice Cream, LLC. After debuting at the Greater Syracuse Arts and Culture Festival, Assad will be starting his business in our beautiful city. Today, we sat down with Assad to get a little bit of background about him and ask him why he believes in Syracuse.
Assad was born in Damascus, Syria where he lived until he finished his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Damascus University College of Economics in 1999. Within the same year of completing his Master’s, he moved to Dubai to pursue a job offer as an accountant. He worked there for eight years before returning to Damascus to open his own chocolate factory in 2007. He worked there until the war began in 2011, and eventually his factory was destroyed by the war in 2012. After his factory was destroyed, Assad decided to move to Jordan with his family where he lived until he and his family were accepted as refugees to the United States in 2016. His wife and four children have now lived in Syracuse for over a year. Now he’s opening the first Syrian ice cream restaurant in the USA!
Name of your business:
Sinbad Sweets & Ice Cream
What culture most inspires your food:
Did other cultures inspire your food as well?
Middle Eastern & American
What are some examples of food items on your menu that you typically offer?
Syrian Ice Cream
Kunafa - Dessert Cheese
Muhallaia - Syrian Pudding
Basbousa - Semolina and Pistachio
Photos of Assad's food
What was your experience with food in the country where you are from? Did you cook? How did you learn to cook?
Since 1889, this has been a business of my family. I learned how to make these delicious desserts from my father. The tradition has been passed down from generation to generation.
Studies have shown that immigrants in America are significantly more likely to start a business than people who are from here originally. Why do you think that is?
The dream. In my home country, we don’t have anything. That’s why I have a dream here in the United States, the country where you can make your dream a reality. I advise the citizens here to have dreams as well. Dreams make people human. If you don’t have a dream, you will think only as a machine and with a routine. If I want to be human, I should dream and work to make it a reality.
Why do you believe in Syracuse? What do you love about Syracuse?
I believe in Syracuse because the city has died before and is now coming back to life. This city should have respect from everyone because it has come back to life. That makes this city special and unique. There is something there that means it couldn’t be destroyed.
What do you hope for the future of Syracuse?
Love. I would like to see everyone loving everyone. There is love but I would like to see more love. We should believe that we all are a family in this city. We should treat each other as brothers and sisters. If someone needs help, we should ask him what he needs before he asks us.
John (Believe in Syracuse) is working for Syracuse to make it better. He shouldn’t have to ask for help. People should come to him to ask him what he needs to make Syracuse better.