After almost 15 years on Valencia Street, Dosa is shutting its doors, with the restaurant owners citing a litany of difficulties that are now more than familiar to local restaurateurs.
As the Chronicle reports, owner Anjan Mitra and his wife Emily opened the Mission location of Dosa back in 2005, marking one of the first instances of a high-end Indian restaurant that emphasized local ingredients and modern twists on classic dishes. The second, larger Dosa opened in an old bank building on Fillmore Street in Japantown three years later, and that location is reportedly staying open, along with an Oakland outpost.
Mitra tells the Chronicle that finding skilled labor, the rising costs of that labor, and increased competition in the neighborhood are all factors figuring into the decision to close, and these factors have all been taking shape over years.
A coalition of chefs and restaurateurs appeared at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors' Land Use Committee earlier this month to discuss the growing challenges of operating restaurants in this city that prides itself on its diverse, world-class cuisine. As Eater reported on the "hours-long" meeting on September 16, restaurant owners cited healthcare and minimum wage costs that have risen 52 percent since 2012, as well as rising rents, inflexible landlords, and an onerous permitting process that makes opening any new business a long, extremely expensive hassle.
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said he shared the frustrations of business owners about being "nickel-and-dimed and delayed and fined by a government that seems unable to deliver the very basic public services residents and small businesses might expect as the precondition of their ability to operate successfully."
Mitra's complaints don't sound quite that extensive, and it's worth noting that 15 years is more than a good run for any restaurant in any neighborhood. It's a vicious business! And the national average for restaurant lifespans is way less than that — of the 10 percent of independent restaurants that even survive past the first year, the average lifespan is five years.
The last day for Dosa on Valencia will be September 30.