Restaurant ordered by Plateau borough to demolish its distinctive facade

The owner of an Afghan restaurant on the famous restaurant strip on Duluth Ave. has spent the last decade fighting the Plateau Mont-Royal borough — and now, his battle is over.

Borough officials have told the management of the Khyber Pass restaurant that it has to take down its distinctive cedar facade, or city workers will take it down, and send along the bill for the work.

Owner Faruk Ramisch admits the wood facade went up in 2009 without the proper permit, and the borough feels it doesn't fit with the look of the street. Ramisch says he paid a hefty fine for the violation, and thought the issue had been settled.

"Because I did it illegally, which I didn't know at that time, even if I submit everything, they are stil going to punish me," Ramisch said in an interview CJAD 800 News.

He has gone to the city to suggest alterations to bring the structure up to code, but the city told him they will not look at his plans until the original facade is demolised, he said.

The structure itself is intricate and features unique angles and long cedar planks, woven together. It came with a price tag of $50,000, according to Ramisch.

"The angles are expensive to do," he said, visibly angered by the prospect of having to rip it all down. "It's art. I didn't just stick wood on the wall."

Removing the existing structure and replacing it could cost Ramisch as much as $100,000.

"The city wants us to take it down because it is not contemporary enough, and not to the taste of the Plateau's officials," a post on the restaurant's Facebook page reads. "When a facade that doesn't bother anyone becomes a priority issue for the city, it is very worrisome!!!!"

The restaurant's management insists the hand-crafted structure is architecturally meaningful for an Afghan restaurant as well as highly recognizable, and that the city should give them a pass. 

"People like it, they love this facade," Ramisch said."A girls came yesterday to say how can I help? There were tears in her eyes. I feel bad. How can they destroy this beautiful facade?"

The Plateau borough has ordered it be taken down by November 30th.