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Tapas Teatro's Karzai to Run Senator Theatre Restaurant

After being shuttered for four months, the Senator Theatre will reopen Oct. 15 as the new operators plan a yearlong, $2 million renovation of the historic cinema in North Baltimore.

James and Kathleen Cusack, the owners of the Charles Theatre, will add a new restaurant, bar, and second screen to the Senator. Quyam Karzai, owner of b and Charles Theatre neighbor Tapas Teatro, will run the bar and small-plate restaurant. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will seat 75.

The Cusacks took over the theater's lease in August after successfully submitting a bid to the city on redevelopment plans for the property. Baltimore City has owned the 71-year-old theater since last year, after paying $810,000 to keep the financially beleaguered business from going into foreclosure. The Senator was formerly owned by Tom Kiefaber and had been a family-run theater since its inception.

The new theater operators want to "return it to its glory days with 21st century amenities," says Clare Miller, a spokeswoman for the Cusacks.

The Cusacks' renovation includes replacing the seats, wall coverings, curtains, and painting the ceilings. They also plan to upgrade the electric systems, sprinklers, and roof. The theater will remain open during construction.

The Senator is located next to the Belvedere Square shopping center, whose tenants include furniture store Nouveau Contemporary Goods, wine bar Grand Cru and Daedalus Books and Music. Miller says the Cusacks want to invest in the "vibrant" Belvedere Square neighborhood because it's a "destination" attraction.

The Senator will show the movie "Red" starring Helen Mirren and Bruce Willis on opening day.
Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Clare Miller, Senator

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