Asian, Eastern European Eateries Coming to Club Centre

Club Centre (Photo provided by Steven Verstandig)

Two new restaurants are coming to the Club Centre shopping center in Pikesville.

Bada Sushi, a Japanese-Korean-inspired eatery, is set to open the week of Oct. 7 in the space that used to house Red Gogi and Umami Bistro, both formerly Asian bistros. Bravo, which describes itself as “European food with a Jewish twist,” is scheduled to open by year’s end in the location that previously was occupied by Quiznos.

Steven Verstandig, vice president at Pikesville-based America’s Realty, which owns Club Centre, said the two establishments will fill a noticeable void in the area. He often hears from various members in the community about how there is a lack of authentic Japanese-Korean and Eastern European food choices.

“These are going to be great additions to Club Centre,” Verstandig said. “These people are not just looking to open up restaurants, but they are looking to build on the community aspect and be part of the community.”

Both restaurants will be family run and the first of their kind for the two respective owners.

Seating about 75 across 2,500 square feet, Bada Sushi will have custom-buffet and sit-down menu options, said Tommy Choe, 26, who will help manage the restaurant with his parents. In addition to made-to-order sushi, the menu will include traditional Japanese soup and salad and entrees, such as okonomiyaki, and Korean rice, noodle and meat entrees.

While the restaurant will not be kosher certified, it will serve kosher-style menu items, allowing customers to choose from a diverse selection of vegetarian sushi rolls and other meal and snack choices, Choe said.

“We think this is a very good opportunity for us,” Choe said. “It’s a great location, and from what we can tell, the community is very diverse, which we really liked. So we felt this would just be a really good fit for us in a really good location.”

At Bravo, owner Alla Sandler, 45, a Russian-born Jew, hopes to bring the flavors of her home country — as well as the United States, Israel, Poland and Ukraine — to the restaurant. Sandler, speaking in a thick Russian accent, said the menu will consist of “a lot of gefilte fish, pastries and thick bowls of borscht.” Most of the items will be made using home recipes.

The restaurant, which can accommodate 50 to 60 people and will include outdoor seating, will not carry any kosher certification. Nonetheless, Sandler said she understands the area’s clientele well after managing a Pikesville restaurant for the last eight years and feels they will welcome her establishment with open arms.

“I am just thankful to be a part of this community, and as I was looking to open up my own place, there wasn’t really anywhere else I was looking,” Sandler said. “When you live and work in an area like this for so long, you get to know people and create trust, bonds and a strong sense of community.”

Verstandig has especially high hopes that both restaurants can solidify their position by offering quality food and strong service while providing a strong complement to bagel hot spot Goldberg’s New York Bagels. He said that’s one of the reasons his company aided Sandler with a significant sum to help her with interior and exterior improvements and provided Choe with resources to ensure his location opens as planned.

The enhancements at Bravo and Bada Sushi are just part of a larger investment America’s Realty has made in Club Centre, which is now fully leased, Verstandig said.

This year alone, he noted, the company has spent nearly $500,000 to redo the parking lot, repaint all the buildings and to double the size of the Pikesville Animal Hospital’s current 2,700-square-foot location.

“[Club Centre] is a good representation of what my family has done in the real estate industry,” Verstandig said.

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