SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – DOSA on Valencia Street in the Mission was packed with customers and its kitchen was bustling Monday night. But come Tuesday, the neighborhood favorite and the original of the South Indian restaurant chain will be gone.
“I love this neighborhood and it’s changed so much, so it’s definitely sad to go, but I feel like it’s just a necessary decision,” said owner Anjan Mitra.
DOSA’s owner Anjan Mitra said when it opened in 2005, rent was in the range of $5,000 to $6,000 dollars. It has since tripled to about $19,000 a month, including common fees. He said the business was getting hit from all sides.
“It’s a huge concern for us that our employees can make a living wage to live in San Francisco, and I noticed six, seven years ago they began moving out, the price of housing went up, and so there were labor shortages because of that,” said Mitra.
To add onto that are rising minimum wages and San Francisco employer mandates, including healthcare ordinances. Restaurant closures in the city have outpaced openings by 9% last year, according to numbers on Yelp.
“We’ve been coming here since she was a little baby,” said customer Ankur Agarwal. “We used to come here all the time with her in her carrier, and with him, so we’re super sad to see it go.”
DOSA isn’t the only restaurant to go. Recently, Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, and Pete’s Tavern and Pedro’s Cantina, all across the ball park, abruptly closed. The sister restaurants on King Street posted a sign on its doors thanking customers for the last 12 years of business. Palomino, a popular happy hour spot on the Embarcadero, also just closed its doors.
Gwyneth Borden is the founder of Ground Floor Experiences, a hospitality consultancy.
“There’s so much competition, the rise in delivery while on the one hand, seems like a positive thing, it’s another thing that really cuts into profit margins for restaurants, and at the end of the day, if you don’t have the volume, it’s really hard to give your doors open,” said Borden.
Mitra hopes the city, state or federal government will share more of the burden that small business owners take on in maintaining their staff.
DOSA will still keep its locations in the Fillmore and in Oakland open.