What propels Kasra Persian Cuisine is a force as unassuming as the strip mall that houses the restaurant. At the helm is Nasima Syed, a woman with a powerful story.
Before taking on the task of restaurant ownership, Syed forged her path through 22 years of formative experience at Whataburger. An immigrant from Afghanistan, after six months Syed said her boss promoted her to assistant manager upon noticing she had taught herself enough English to take orders and run the register.
Five years later Syed was promoted to general manager, a position she held for 17 years.
“I learned customer service from Whataburger,” she said. “It’s a very good company; they teach you how to talk to people and take care of your customers.”
In hopes of providing a nest egg for her two young daughters, in 2005 Syed began a joint venture with her brothers that would give the people of Richardson a taste of Iran.
A lunch buffet offered seven days a week allows guests to enjoy the culinary delicacies of ancient Persia, such as ghormeh sabzi, a beef and lamb stew made with green herbs; brani bademjan—slices of fried eggplant topped with garlic, bell peppers, yogurt and spices; and Kabob Soltani—skewers of seasoned beef tenderloin loosely translated to “fit for a king.” To round off every dish is golden saffron basmati rice.
In 2011 her brothers and the head chef abruptly left the business, leaving the bulk of operations to Syed. On her first day as sole owner she said she was presented with what seemed like an insurmountable challenge—preparing a 700-person catering order.
“I didn’t sleep that night, but I said ‘I’m going to make it,’” she said. “I pulled it off, and it was perfect. After that I was not scared.”
Kasra is run with the help of a dedicated staff as well as Syed’s three daughters—Sadaf, Sana and Soha. An emulation of their mother, Syed’s children are steadfast in their care for the restaurant and can often be found taking orders or decorating the adjoining banquet hall for special events.
What originally began as a haven for Iranian immigrants in search of a connection to their homeland, Syed said the restaurant now attracts all types of people who flock from far-flung suburbs and cities to experience authentic Persian cuisine.
“I love [Kasra] because it is my own,” Syed said. “I meet good people, and my customers become my family.”
Kasra Persian Cuisine
525 W. Arapaho Road, Ste. 21, Richardson
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-midnight, Sat. noon-midnight, Sun. noon-8 p.m