Marco Senghor stands in front of what was formerly known as Little Baobab restaurant on 19th and Mission Streets

In an effort to consolidate his business, Senegalese restaurateur Marco Senghor shut down the popular Bissap Baobab restaurant on Mission Street last week after selling the liquor license to a new owner. He plans to reopen on 19th Street, where he has two other businesses, the Bollyhood Café and Little Baobab.

The new eatery and live music venue, Bissap Baobab and the Mosaic Diaspora, will be between those two venues. It will have its grand opening in the next few weeks, Senghor said.

“Running three places is a lot of work,” he said. “It’s much more convenient and much more efficient to have my operations in one location.”

Senghor hopes to create a mini-West African village along the northeast corner of 19th and Mission streets.

He is renting space on Mission Street and plans to eventually have a dance studio where instructors would teach traditional music, theater and culture.

“We want to showcase the whole beauty of our continent. Hopefully, the city allows us to make this goal complete, because they make it difficult to get permits.”

Senghor, 44, still needs to obtain building permits and a liquor license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to serve alcohol and spirits, but he said the restaurant’s grand opening, scheduled for late June, will go ahead as planned.

A native of Dakar, Senegal, Senghor opened Bissap Baobab at 2323 Mission Street in 2001. It has been a Mission Street mainstay, serving Senegalese and Caribbean-style dishes like stews, seafood, rice and couscous.

Bissap Baobab was sold to Ben Bleiman and Duncan Ley, owners of the Bullitt and Tonic bar and restaurants on Polk Street. A spokesman for the group said they plan to open a bar and grill on the site sometime this year.

Senghor’s new venture will retain the same feel as the original Bissap Baobab, but will add a series of pop-up kitchens where chefs will showcase cuisine from Cameroon, Nigeria and the diaspora.

“We’re still here, so stay tuned,” Senghor said.

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Ernesto Garcia Morales

As a young child to Mexican immigrants, Ernesto Garcia Morales developed a passion for journalism while growing up in inner city Sacramento, where he witnessed injustice, crime and poverty plaguing his community. Today he hopes to address those challenges by telling stories of people, organizations, and business leaders who are striving to make the Mission a better place to live, work, and play.

Ernesto comes to Mission Loc@l from the San Francisco Business Times. He received his journalism degree from San Francisco State University.

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  1. glad they’re not closing down – the food is good, they make great drinks, and have always been super friendly to me & my friends.

  2. Good Job Marco!!! He started selling Orange juice, if I am not wrong!
    I love this place, it’s culture and how non-California-pretentious it is/was!

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