A first in neighborhood dining: table service 7 days a week at Noona’s

The interior of Noona’s at 1203 W. Mt Royal Ave. – Robert Cardoni

Noona’s restaurant – now called Noona’s Curry & Pie – is open under new ownership, and for the first time in many years, Bolton Hill residents can get a table-served lunch or dinner and cocktails seven days a week.

Whether that will last ultimately depends, says new owner Om Chhetri, on residents and diners in the neighborhood. He and his family have preserved the pizza offerings from the former Noona’s, which was operated by restaurateur Phil Han. They have added an extensive Asian fusion menu centered on Indian and Nepali cooking with a wide range of chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian curry and tandoori dishes, rice bowls and biryani, samosas and naan.

“The menu is large, and we will continue serving the dishes that people tell us they like best,” he said.  As before, Noona’s also has an extensive selection of cocktails, beer and wine, with happy hour specialties. “I want to continue a menu of Italian, Indian and Nepali dishes,” said Om, who was born in Nepal and arrived in the U.S. in 2011.

The “old Noona’s” opened at 1203 Mt. Royal Ave. in December 2018 as a spinoff from Han’s popular café, Dooby’s, in Mt. Vernon. Located in the Fitzgerald apartment building where it was preceded by Two Boots Pizza, Noona’s did a brisk evening business until early 2020 when the COVID pandemic hit them. “Challenging,” is how Han understated the impact. Before COVID, his four locations had 100 employees. Afterward he struggled to keep 40 working, he said.

Om Chhetri and his older brother, Krishna, acquired the lease and some debt from Han last September and created the expansive new menu in February. Krishna, who is 49, has 30+ years in the restaurant business while Om, 34, worked in restaurants in Pennsylvania and New York. They are part of an extended Nepali immigrant family that operates pizza cafes in Perry Hill and Elkridge and a Nepali restaurant in Staten Island. “They are very successful,” Om said.

At a glance the 55-seat place looks the same: spartan, industrial décor with stacks of pizza carryout boxes along one wall. There are five employees as of now, including the owners’ sister, Samiran Giri. Krishna also acquired a bar that Han operated in the Fell’s Point Broadway Market. Han continues to operate Sugarvale, a cozy bar near the monument in Mt. Vernon, and Dooby’s on N. Charles St.

Noona’s Curry & Pie offers online ordering (with a clunky website) for pickup and has two sizes of pizza that can be ordered and delivered (for a charge) at Slice.com. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. on weekends. On warm days there is outdoor dining. They welcome catering opportunities.