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Before the chaos of actual parents’ weekend began, I got the chance to enjoy dinner with my friend and her dad at Aleppo Sweets. I had been wanting to try the restaurant for a while, and it lived up to my expectations. Aleppo Sweets is an authentic Syrian bakery and cafe. Located on Ives Street, the place has indoor and outdoor seating, and they also offer takeout. Though sweets is in the name, the restaurant’s menu includes much more than just baked goods. They have a wide selection of savory Syrian foods, such as falafel, kabobs, mezze items, and more. 

Aleppo Sweets has an incredible ambiance. There are tons of hanging and standing plants and beautiful light fixtures. Additionally, one corner of the room has larger, cushioned chairs, which gives the space a cozy vibe. The cafe is very bright and has a warm atmosphere. The one drawback of the space, despite its visual appeal, is that it does not have an especially large footprint. They do not allow any reservations, so make sure to go at an off time or at a time when you are fine with waiting for a little while. Ives Street is a really cute area to walk around if you have to wait a bit for a table.

It was a beautiful day outside when I went to Aleppo Sweets, so we decided to make use of the online ordering option for takeout. Our food was ready when we got there, and the cafe was filled with customers and a friendly, busy staff. We tried the falafel, lentil soup, hummus and veggies, and tabouleh. Everything was delicious. The menu is perfect for ordering to share as a group, which was nice because we all got to try a bit of everything. I would order everything we had again, but if I had to choose, my favorite thing we ordered was the falafel. It was served with tahini and seasoned with a lot of yummy spices. 

I didn’t get the chance to try any, but baklava is Aleppo Sweets’ specialty and has earned them rave reviews. There is a large glass counter at the front of the restaurant with all of the baklava on display, and the flavor selection varies from month to month. Additionally, the menu has an extensive list of tea and coffee options that look really good. I will definitely be returning to the cafe at some point for a baked good and a Turkish coffee!

Not only is Aleppo Sweets a great restaurant, it also has an amazing story. Youssef Akhtarini is the owner and baker at Aleppo Sweets. Raised in Aleppo Syria, he has been baking since he was sixteen. When the civil war struck Syria, Youssef’s home and bakery were destroyed. He and his wife and children fled to Turkey where they registered as refugees. Eventually, the family was accepted to resettle in the United States. They were placed in Providence, and Youssef was determined to open a bakery. Youssef’s refugee story ultimately led to the birth of Aleppo Sweets and a happy life in Providence for him, his wife, and their six children. Aleppo Sweets’ staff is also made up primarily of refugees from local families. 

I highly recommend trying Aleppo Sweets, whether you are looking for a full meal or just want to enjoy a pastry and tea in a pleasant setting. The food is high quality and authentic, and you are supporting the refugee community by supporting this business. In addition to the ownership and much of the staff being refugees, Aleppo Sweets also donates to three local charities that serve the refugee and immigrant communities. Everyone should give Aleppo Sweets a try! The food is excellent, and the business is more than deserving of the support.

Hannah is a sophomore at Brown from the D.C. area in Virginia. She is concentrating in public policy.
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