Base Camp co-owner Suraksha Basnet. Photo by Aleka Kroitzsh

Goodbye Germany. Hello Nepal.

In the former place of Schmidt’s German restaurant at 20th and Folsom streets, which closed last year amid rent hikes, a new Nepali tapas restaurant, Base Camp, will open in November.

The owners of the restaurant, 29 year-old Suraksha Basnet and her 27-year-old brother, Sutish Basnet, also opened Nepalese restaurant Dancing Yak at 14th and Valencia streets in 2018. After gaining “lots of neighborhood support” with Dancing Yak, Suraksha said, she felt ready to open a new place. 

“I saw the space was available,” she said. “It was a rent that I thought I was comfortable with taking a risk on.”

Suraksha wants Base Camp to have its “own identity” separate from Dancing Yak’s colorful, decadent ambiance. She described her vision for Base Camp as an “ode” to those who lost their homes in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015.

Even after so much death and destruction, she said, the government did not create a memorial to commemorate the country’s loss, “their names weren’t written anywhere. I don’t even know if there’s an exact number count of how many people died.” 

To commemorate these losses, Base Camp will feature fixtures made out of windows and doors from the houses that fell during the 2015 earthquake. 

The menu for Base Camp will also differ from Dancing Yak’s, in that it will focus on Nepali tapas, featuring a mix of Newari (an indigenous culture of Kathmandu Valley) and Tibetan street foods. “I think Nepali food actually fits best as tapas,” Suraksha said, recalling how in her youth she would get together with her friends and eat from the same small plates with toothpicks. 

“I’m very romantically attached to Nepal,” said Suraksha, “I think I would be even if I wasn’t born there.” 

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Aleka A. Kroitzsh grew up in Mumbai, India and now lives in Berkeley, CA. She is an English major at Dartmouth College and is passionate about poetry, hiking, and travel.

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