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New life for Chesapeake Restaurant

The old Chesapeake Restaurant on North Charles Street could become a combination seafood restaurant and upscale mini-grocer offering local produce, cheeses, breads and fish.

A local group that includes restaurateur Qayum Karzai and investor Michael Schecter is negotiating with the Baltimore Development Corp. to buy the building for that purpose. The restaurant has been closed for 20 years.

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"We're happy about it and I think BDC is very positive about it," Karzai told me when I reached him by phone this evening.

The planned seafood counter in the market would be similar to the one in Harrods department store in London, according to The Daily Record, which first reported the prospective deal.

Should Baltimore get ready for its own Harrods?

"The Harrods store is much more exotic," Karzai said. "This will be a very, very small version."

The focus will be on local produce, much of it grown on Karzai's Fig Leaf Farm in Howard County. 

Karzai, who owns The Helmand, B and Tapas Teatro, said it was not clear if the restaurant, which would seat about 30, would keep the Chesapeake Restaurant name.

"I don't know about the name," he said. "There is a debate."

Former Chesapeake owner Robert A. Sapero. Baltimore Sun file photo

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