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Owner Naseem Gundel plans complete transformation of three-story structure built in 1920 to return building to its “former splendor” with anticipated opening date in summer 2018

Entrepreneur Naseem Gondel has acquired 1500 West Pratt Street, a three-story building that formerly operated as the International Academy of Hair Design and Technology, for the purpose of transforming the structure into a neighborhood restaurant with an Indian and Pakistani theme, with a touch of Italian-American. Gondel is currently working on a complete interior and exterior renovation of the structure that was constructed in the 1920s, with plans to open the new restaurant in summer 2018. Herbert Burgunder III, Member, Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law), represented the new owner in this acquisition. The restaurant has engaged Carballo Architecture to provide design services for the project.

The restaurant will offer a variety of Indian and Pakistani dishes including chicken and lamb curry; beef and chicken kabobs; goat and chicken korma; as well as karahi and biryani dishes. A number of Italian-American style items will also be available including New York-style and gourmet pizza, cheese steaks, calzones and wraps. The restaurant will seat approximately thirty-five people for on-site dining.

“Our primary goal is to help improve the local neighborhood by creating a casual dining environment that will be comfortable and inviting for all residents,” explained Naseem Gondel. “We were attracted to the historic characteristics of the neighborhood, and the lack of locally-owned restaurants serving the day-to-day dining needs of this area. With the improvements currently underway on the building, we will make the neighborhood look exceedingly better, while also creating a new gathering spot for downtown.”

According to Gondel, he also chose this location based on its close proximity to downtown attractions including the Baltimore Convention center. Food delivery service to residents and businesses will be an important component of the business plan.

“Based on input from Naseem, our design focused on returning 1500 West Pratt Street to its former splendor,” explained Adam Carballo, Principal of Carballo Architecture, “which will be accomplished by reestablishing the existing storefront and removing the blocked-in windows to add natural light to the interior. This work is in keeping with the objectives of Transform Baltimore to make Baltimore City more livable, which includes the establishment of neighborhood restaurants. When work is completed, the building will not resemble a mouth with a missing tooth like it does now, and it will be turned into an amenity that will draw people in.”

“The neighborhood surrounding this restaurant is in transition and this represents an important corner of the city,” said Herbert Burgunder III, Member, Pessin Katz Law. “The owner is making a substantial investment into this project and has built up tremendous support within the community that has embraced his restaurant concept. The infusion of energy and private capital into any new project in this West Baltimore neighborhood is impressive, and this restaurant will be an attractive gathering spot.”

“The process to acquire the building and gain approval from the local community to proceed lasted nearly two years, but we are comfortable with the reception we are now receiving,” added Gondel. “We are taking a neglected eyesore that had fallen into disarray and creating a new amenity that will create jobs and provide a necessary amenity to the city.”

“This restaurant will improve the diversity of the area and is something the community would wholeheartedly support,” explained Rason Taru, a long-time community resident and President of the West Baltimore Street Commercial Property and Business Owners Association. “In addition, the new restaurant will help attract more businesses and new residents to the community, as well as address the negative job trend in the community.”

Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) is the ninth largest law firm in the Baltimore area and has been serving clients for close to thirty years. PK Law maintains full-service offices in Towson, Columbia, and Bel Air and is comprised of more than 60 lawyers, paralegals and law clerks. Practice areas include corporate and business law, real estate and zoning, education law, estate planning, elder law, labor and employment, litigation, insurance law and medical malpractice defense. For additional information, visit