Aldawyma moved to Richardson in 2010 with his mind set on opening the restaurant here, which he did in 2011.
Richardson was an ideal market for the business because of the large Middle Eastern population, Aldawyma said.
“This area makes me feel more like [I am] back home, so I thought if I brought my business here, it would go as well as back home,” Aldawyma said via a translator.
Bilad began by offering traditional Iraqi cuisine and quickly gained a local following.
“[The restaurant] started getting famous for the shawarma, started getting famous for the pita, and by the end of the day, we were sold out,” Aldawyma said.
Over time, Aldawyma grew his menu to include many of his customers’ favorite dishes as well as new items.
The shawarma plate, which can be made with beef or chicken, is Bilad’s most popular item, Aldawyma said. Sandwiches come on the bakery’s fresh, homemade bread and can be customized with a choice of vegetables and condiments. The menu also includes appetizers and desserts, such as a hummus platter and baklava.
Many of the ingredients used in the restaurant are shipped in from other states, Aldawyma said. The addition of a specialty market in 2015 allowed Bilad’s customers to purchase the items needed to cook Middle Eastern food at home.
The restaurant has remained successful despite coronavirus restrictions, Aldawyma said.
“[Business is] going up, even in these hard days,” he said. “We try our best to keep our customers safe and ourselves safe.”