By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Feb 13, 2024 at 7:04 PM

As evidenced by a recent visit to the restaurant, Damascus Gate has officially closed its doors at 807 W. Historical Mitchell St.  

The South Side eatery, which opened with the assistance of Dr. Ahmad Nasef in January of 2019, was founded to assist in creating sustainable income for Syrian refugees they settled into their new lives in the U.S. In turn, the families shared their culture with Milwaukee, along with the distinctive flavors of Syria, a country whose rich, diverse cuisine has been forged and blended through years of conquests, migrations and trade.

Much like the refugees themselves, who overcame unfathomable conditions to reach the U.S., the restaurant survived the COVID-19 pandemic. Even more, they contributed to ongoing efforts, including the Hungry Hearts initiative, which provided meals to thousands of families in need. The restaurant persisted, even after the tragic passing of Dr. Nasef in 2021.

Despite several calls and messages, we were unable to reach Samaher Aldaye, who took over operations following Nasef's passing, for additional information about the closing. 

However, as evidenced during our visit, another business is currently making preparations to open at the Historical Mitchell Street location. While there is not yet a restaurant or liquor license application on file for the business with the City of Milwaukee, a sign is up for a new Puerto Rican restaurant called La Ventanita.

La VentanitaX


Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.