Twenty-five years ago, Mahmoud Kassir came to America from Syria. His brother was a doctor and had migrated to America and liked it. Mahmoud thought he might like it too. Mahmoud was an educated man from an educated family in Damascus, Syria. He wanted to become an aerospace engineer and came to Omaha, Nebraska.He was shocked by the culinary difference between Omaha and Damascus and longed for the home cooking of his mother.
Mahmoud's mother called him to see how he was doing. Mahmoud told her he was having a hard time eating the food there in Omaha. His mother took it upon herself to make audio recordings in the kitchen, making dishes that Mahmoud always liked. She gave cooking lessons step-by-step and sent them off to Omaha.
Mahmoud married a local Omaha girl and they had four children and eventually moved to Denver. Eventually Mahmoud decided to open a restaurant. The original Damascus Grill opened south of I-25 on Colorado Boulevard near several other middle eastern establishments, he subsequently moved it to Arvada where an Episcopal priest and his wife became regulars. More and more customers loved the food and made the Arvada restaurant their frequent dining place.
After 9-11 hit, a vandal threw a brick through the picture window of the Arvada restaurant. The Episcopal priest came and saw the results. He got twelve of the local churches to sign a strong statement of support for this good man and they came to the restaurant and posted their statement, along with their 12 signatures, on the door of Mahmoud's place. Nothing else happened.
In 2004, Mahmoud got a chance to move the restaurant into a new location in Littleton, CO around Littleton Blvd and Windermere. There are several small "mom and pop" restuarants in this area. The Damascus Grill is a bright green with deep green awnings. It is wonderful.
Mahmoud still has the audio tapes his mother made so many years ago. His children are now grown and several work at the restaurant along with a son-in-law. Damascus Grill makes all of their dishes from scratch, including their delicious pita bread. The complexity of tastes excites the palate as the fresh meats, vegetables and spices collide.