Catonsville resident Rehan Khan will host the grand opening of his new restaurant, Umami Global Bistro, Friday, Jan. 25, at 4 p.m.
The new business, located in the space formerly known as Tiffany's in the 700 block of Frederick Road, will offer cuisine ranging from traditional cheeseburgers and pizza to dishes as exotic as babaganoush and falafel from the Middle East.
"When I look around, (I thought) what else is missing," Khan said. "I saw a lot of ethnic food is missing in this region, like a lot of old-school grandma cooking.
"So we decided to come up with the concept and add food from different parts of the world, bring the best of the best under one roof," he said.
Khan said he wants to remain true to his passion for cooking with the freshest local ingredients.
"We're buying from local farms, local farmers markets, we're going to use fresh meat from local butchers. Everything is fresh. Fries are hand cut. I don't want to use anything processed," Khan said.
Teal Cary, executive director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, said that this new style of food will help draw attention to an area that already includes several restaurants on Catonsville's Main Street.
"Variety is the spice of life, and we think that'll bring more foot traffic," Cary said.
The journey to completion has been a tough one, Khan said. It has taken he and his business partner Mohammed Pathan, a doctor at St. Agnes Hospital, years to renovate the building from head to toe.
"Putting it together, it was too much work ... from the ceiling to the floor tiles, to putting back the kitchen, everything was just a lot of work," Khan said. "We ran into some obstacles and it took us a long time to get it done."
According to Cary, their hard work has paid off.
"They've done a great job renovating the building," she said. "The work that they've put into renovating the building just enhances Main Street. We're very excited to about that because we're constantly looking to revitalize Frederick Road."
Regardless of the effort it has taken to prepare for the grand opening, Khan said that he and Pathan's passions for cooking made it all worth it.
"It's a lot of hard work. You have to sacrifice a lot of things in order to run a successful business," Khan said. "But I think if you have a passion for something, then it doesn't feel like a job."