One of Brooklyn’s most respected civic leaders, Edward Mafoud, who owns Damascus Bakeries with his brother David, will be honored at this year’s 24th Annual Bishop DiMarzio Golf Classic on Thursday, July 11 at the North Hills Country Club in Manhasset, New York.
As a businessman, Mafoud helped expand Damascus Bakery, a local storefront bakery on Atlantic Avenue, founded in 1930 by his maternal grandfather Hassan Halaby which has gained a reputation for producing the best Middle Eastern pita and lavash breads in the community.
According to Mafoud, Halaby wanted to bring the flavor and feel of his home country, Syria, to his new home in Downtown Brooklyn. After all, it was in Syria that he first learned traditional Middle Eastern baking recipes.
“It was 1930, when Brooklyn was a borough of many proud immigrants building their neighborhood,” explained Mafoud. “It was also the time of the Great Depression and Prohibition. My grandfather would work night and day to bake his warm and delicious old world pitas, lavash and flatbreads for his new Brooklyn neighbors.”
He was known as “King of the Avenue,” according to Mafoud and through it all his grandfather epitomized the American Dream. “He got married, started a family of four children, including Leila, our mother, and he bought a house just a few blocks away from the bakery,” Mafoud continued.
In the late ’50s, Leila married Mafoud’s father Tony.
“During the 1960s, ’70’s and ’80s, our father, Anthony Mafoud, and our uncle, Henry Halaby, introduced our pitas, lavash and other traditional baked goods made with old-fashioned excellence to the other boroughs of New York as well as to other cities in America. Our products now sell in all 50 states, and even other countries,” said Mafoud.
Today, Damascus Bakeries carries on the old world tradition as new generations discover what Mafoud’s grandfather created 80 years ago. In fact, the Mafouds have found a way to pay homage to their Brooklyn roots with their popular new Brooklyn Bred Bistro Breads product line.
“We love baking for our Brooklyn community,” said Mafoud. “Every loaf is an opportunity for us to bake authentic — and truly outspoken — bread that reaches out — and speaks out — to all, no doubt with a Brooklyn accent.”
Aside from continuing the legacy of his family’s business, Mafoud is a civic leader in every sense of the word. He is chairperson of the board of directors of the St. Nicholas Home, a non-profit interdenominational residence for seniors in Bay Ridge. He is also a trustee on the Staten Island University Foundation Board and serves on the board of the Salaam Club of New York.
Mafoud and his wife Marisol are the parents of Leila, Kamil and Lolita.
The other honoree at this year’s event is Msgr. Alfred LoPinto, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens who will receive the Distinguished Clergy of the Year Award.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Tele Lumiere/Noursat, the first and only Christian television network in Lebanon and the Middle East.