Thunder Bay

Syrian refugee family set to open Damascus Donair in Thunder Bay

A Syrian family that arrived in Thunder Bay, Ont. less than a year ago is opening a new takeout restaurant on the city's north side.

The new restaurant will bring a taste of Syrian cuisine to Thunder Bay, says owner Zaher Toubaji

Hamza Hatoum (L) translated for relative Zaher Toubaji (R) in an interview with CBC Thunder Bay. The Hatoum family, have been helping the Toubaji family to settle into Thunder Bay, especially as Toubaji and his wife prepare to open their new restaurant, Damascus Donair. (Ron Desmoulins/CBC)

A Syrian family that arrived in Thunder Bay, Ont. less than a year ago is opening a new takeout restaurant on the city's north side.

Damascus Donair, named for the Syrian capital city where owner Zaher Toubaji was born, will be located on St. Paul Street, and is scheduled to open on Monday. 

Toubaji was determined to open the restaurant within his first twelve months in the city, in order to show his gratitude to those who had helped his family, said Hamza Hatoum, a relative who translated for Toubaji during an interview with CBC Thunder Bay's Superior Morning.

"He just wanted to show everybody that before the year is up, before the sponsorship's up that, you know, 'I'm going to be on my own two feet,'" said Hatoum. 
Toubaji was determined to open the restaurant within his first twelve months in the city. (Redwood Refugee Support Circle / Facebook)

Toubaji arrived with his wife and daughters in Thunder Bay last February as a privately sponsored refugee supported by Redwood Park Church. 

Over the past year, and in setting up his new venture, Toubaji said he's also received lots of help and support from the Hatoum family, who own Kabab Village, an already established restaurant. 

Damascus Donair will serve dishes including fattoush, hummus, and of course, donairs. It will also carry a small selection of imported groceries.