Owner Jihad Wadi drew his inspiration for the place from his childhood in Syria. “I taught myself how to cook at a young age,” he remembers. “And I found that I was surprisingly good at it. I really just wanted to bring those flavors from Syria to Dallas.” You can catch Wadi in the kitchen from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. the next morning, toasting waffles and garnishing open-faced toasts for hungry crowds of customers. “All the recipes are my own,” the new business owner says. “Nobody in my family really taught me how to do this. Testing new recipes and cooking new foods…it’s something I do out of passion.”
When he left Syria, Wadi settled in Minnesota. There, the young entrepreneur ran his own juice bar for a few years before deciding to relocate to Dallas in 2022. But the inter-country moves never detracted from Wadi’s love for a nice glass of freshly brewed coffee. “I’ve always been a coffee guy,” he says. “That’s when the idea for Peace was born. I figured it would be the perfect way to combine my Syrian background with my love for tasty coffee.”
Grab a seat, order a few pastries and sip on a Yalla habibi latte while you get lost in the decor. Bathed in soothing brown accents, the coffee shop is adorned with intricate Middle Eastern art on both the walls and tiles. Metallic lettering on the wall reads, “The peace your soul deserves,” creating a calming space to open a good book and breathe in the smells of freshly brewed coffee. As Wadi puts it, it’s all part of the “coffee-drinking experience.”
The food and drink options here are as appealing as the decor. Try the signature Syrian Makdus toast, which is smothered in a light ricotta cheese spread and garnished with pomegranate seeds, pickled artichoke and walnuts. An equally popular salami option is adorned with folded salami slices and a pickled olive marinade. Dried flowers and seeds perch on top to add to the colorful spectacle.
From savories, move on to the cafe’s extensive waffle selection, which includes a Nutella, Arabic strawberry cheesecake and a s’mores waffle. Any indecisiveness is cured by the signature sampler waffle, which is cut into four pieces of different flavors.
Alongside waffles, the Madluka is one of Wadi’s specialties. “I opened the shop because of this,” he says as he points to the display case. “People just love it so much.” The typical Syrian dessert comes with a base of lightly sweet semolina pudding bathed in thick whipped cream and ground pistachio nut. The coffee shop’s 10+ varieties of house-made baklava also tempt through the display case. A “milky baklava” is a cut of pistachio baklava lounging in a pool of sweetened milk. It’s an inventive cross between tiramisu and baklava, with layers of mascarpone cream sandwiched between flaky phyllo layers.
Different mocktails, lattes and teas make good accompaniments to the food. Linger over a Turkish coffee, which is heated in a hot sand bath and poured for you at the table. Creative drinks like strawberry matcha and Syrian mint tea cater to caffeine cravings — whether it’s 10 in the morning, 6 in the evening or 2 in the wee hours. Peace Middle East is open for it all.
Peace Middle East Cafe, 581 W. Campbell Road, Richardson. Sunday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.; Friday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.