In an effort to remain competitive with other restaurants in the Mission, Dosa is in the process of obtaining a full liquor license.
The South Indian food restaurant, which opened in December 2005 at 995 Valencia Street, already serves beer and wine and has a bar. The new license would allow the restaurant to sell liquor. The Planning Department has received one letter against and a letter with five signatures in support. The letter against was filed by the landlord of a building near Dosa.
The restaurant needs the license to be successful, Emily Mitra, co-owner of the restaurant, wrote in her application.
“[We] set forth to acquire a Type 47 license [full bar license] so that we can be more competitive with other full service Mission District restaurants and also to help drive revenue after having suffered quite seriously since 2008 from the economic recession.”
When Dosa opened in 2005 it was an almost instantaneous hit. It made the San Francisco Chronicle’s best new restaurants list for 2006, and the sight of people huddling outside as they waited for a table became commonplace. Dosa’s owners opened a second, larger location on Fillmore, near the newly renovated Kabuki Theater, in 2008.
But more competition is underway. The South Indian restaurant chain Udupi Palace opened a location on Valencia a block away from Dosa in 2008 (like Dosa, it has only a beer and wine license). And earlier this month, the Planning Commission approved the permit for Amber Indian Restaurant at 680 Valencia Street, at 18th. The 5,225 square-foot restaurant would also be a full-service restaurant and bar, and several times the size of the 1,600-square-foot Dosa.
The request for a full bar license begs the question: Is it necessary for restaurants in the Mission, and specifically on Valencia, to have full-service bars to be successful?
Dosa certainly thinks so.
“Without this important consistency in our product offering, we feel our original location, the one before you today at the 995 Valencia Street, will not remain financially successful over the long run,” Mitra wrote to the Planning Commission.
The hearing is set for Thursday, May 19, at City Hall, Room 400. It starts at noon.