First time restaurateur Heena Patel is taking the reins at 1275 Minnesota Street, a Dogpatch restaurant space inside the Minnesota Street Project art gallery and studio that opened last year as a branch of Daniel Patterson’s restaurant Alta. There, Patel will partner with Patterson, an established chef/restaurateur, to realize her vision for an upscale restaurant serving recipes from her native Gujarat, India within a Californian context. The new restaurant, called Besharam (which translates to “shameless”) will open as soon as next month after Alta as we know it closes in late April.
Patterson, who founded Alta on Market Street in 2013, has changed concepts at several of his restaurants recently, handing their direction over to new chefs. When Patterson approached the Mission District food business incubator La Cocina in a recruiting effort, seeking a change for his Dogpatch restaurant, “Heena immediately came to mind,” says La Cocina director Caleb Zigas.
Patel launched her current food business, Rasoi, through La Cocina in 2014, gaining a following with a Ferry Building farmers market stand. “She’s one of the best natural cooks we’ve had at La Cocina,” Zigas says of Patel.
Patel won over Patterson with her cooking, as she did the staff of Michelin starred State Bird Provisions, where she served a stellar staff meal and later started staging. She’s shared recipes with Saveur magazine, which highlighted her version of a Gujarati dish known as undhiyu, with spring vegetables, chickpeas, and fenugreek dumplings. And at Besharam, Patel will collaborate with Patterson on dishes and techniques.
The Alta Group will continue to manage operations at 1275 Minnesota Street, including the bar, and Patel’s husband, who once ran a wine shop, will work the front of house. Per the irreverence referenced in Besharam’s name, Patel has commissioned artwork and dishes from a favorite artist, illustrator Maria Qamar.
The beginning of Besharam marks the end of Alta MSP, which opened in 2017 to positive reviews from critics like Eater SF’s Rachel Levin. After its debut last year, Patterson seemed intent on opening more Alta restaurants, going all-in on the restaurant as a “growth vehicle,” he told Eater. Haven, an Oakland restaurant that Patterson had closed in 2017, would become an Alta, he announced. Another Alta was on the way to Los Angeles. And Alta’s Market Street original would move down the street to a space in the historic Grant Building, where a new hotel project had been announced.
But Patterson tore up those plans and made new ones. Early this year, Alta on Market became Kaya, a Caribbean restaurant from Nigel Jones of Oakland’s popular Kingston 11 in a partnership with Patterson and the Alta Group. In a few short weeks, the team changed concepts and decor, adjusting to new recipes and drinks. That same quick turnover is likely at Besharam.
Most recently, with Kaya off the ground, Patterson struck up another partnership with Reem Assil, another La Cocina graduate behind casual Oakland restaurant Reem’s California. Assil is currently taking over Haven, which is no longer to become an Alta, but instead her full-service restaurant called Dyafa.
But Alta partisans needn’t lose hope, a representative for the group says. Alta locations are still in the works for the Grant Hotel in San Francisco and in West Adams in Los Angeles.