Bigdash owners out to make Middle Eastern desserts popular in Richardson, beyond

Baklava.
Bigdash offers Turkish triangle baklava at its shops in Frisco and Richardson. (Francesca D’Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)

Bigdash offers Turkish triangle baklava at its shops in Frisco and Richardson. (Francesca D’Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Asmaa Khattab and Kareem Alrefaai opened Bigdash’s Frisco location in February 2020. (Francesca D’Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kareem Alrefaai and Asmaa Khattab have transformed their passion for food into an outlet for sharing their Syrian culture and cuisine.

The husband and wife are owners of the Middle Eastern sweets shop Bigdash, which originated in Richardson and branched out last year to Frisco.

The idea behind the business started with Khattab making Arabic ice cream and helawet el-jibn, a sweet cheese pastry, at home for friends and family.

Little by little, her hobby grew, demanding more time and resources. She started selling treats from her home kitchen. But she had an ambitious goal, Alrefaai said.

“She would tell me, ‘Hey, I wanna make kinafa so bad,’” Alrefaai said. “[But] kinafa is a very sensitive item, pretty traditional."


He described kinafa as a staple dessert in many cultures but with variations “depending on how you grew up.”

After several attempts and some taste tests, Alrefaai said his wife settled on a recipe for the cheesy pastry that would suit most people, regardless of which culture they grew up in.

He said he also encouraged her to rent a commercial kitchen to keep up with the demand. It soon became impossible to keep up with the orders, Alrefaai said, who at the time was working in a convenience store and owned a couple restaurants.

“I quit my job and started working with her full time,” Alrefaai said.

They opened the Richardson shop in 2016 and followed last February with a shop on Preston Road in Frisco.

In addition to kinafa, the shop sells ice cream, cookies, baklava and other Middle Eastern treats.

Bigdash also does catering.

Alrefaai said the goal is to make kinafa a household name for people who might not be familiar with the dessert.

“I want [Bigdash] to be everywhere,” Alrefaai said. “And I’m gonna do whatever it takes to help [Khattab] get to that point because no one works as hard as she did. The world of kinafa is coming.”

Bigdash

717 Lingco Drive, Ste. 210, Richardson

972-979-4098

www.bigdash.com

Hours: Sun.-Thu. noon-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-11 p.m.
By Francesca D' Annunzio
Francesca D'Annunzio covers K-12 and higher education, development, planning and zoning, and transportation in Frisco and McKinney. She attended college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she reported for the Daily Texan and interned for the Austin Chronicle. When she's not reporting, she enjoys spending time outdoors and experimenting in the kitchen.