Besharam, the much-lauded Gujarati restaurant that opened in the Dogpatch as a collaboration between La Cocina star Heena Patel and celebrity chef Daniel Patterson, announced its indefinite closure via Instagram on Sunday, saying that the economic pressures wrought by COVID-19 has forced it to shutter its takeout and outdoor dining operations.
Besharam opened its doors in May of 2018, inside the space most recently occupied by Patterson’s Alta restaurant as part of a collaboration with the famous chef. Less than a year later, Patel had broken ties with the Alta Group, saying then that “by assuming full control of my restaurant, I can focus on putting my heart and soul into the food and guest experience.”
It was a bold and self-assured move for a first-time restaurateur like Patel, but it paid off, as after the spot relaunched with a fresh new menu of regional dishes from Patel’s home state of Gujarat, awards and accolades soon followed, including Eater SF’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year.
After the pandemic hit, Patel pivoted to takeout and outdoor dining with a menu of foods that don’t have to be served warm to be delicious — a necessity given takeout travel times and the whipping winds of the Dogpatch street where Besharam’s outdoor tables sat. “I can’t control how the guests feel, or even how many will come,” Patel told Eater SF in July. “The only thing I can control is how whatever I put on the menu will bring them comfort and joy.”
But this weekend, Patel made the difficult decision to temporarily close Besharam, saying that (as is true for most restaurants in the city) “partial dine-in and takeout dining has proven not to be enough to sustain the industry and continue to pay our staff fair San Francisco wages.” At present, there’s no word on what would have to happen to allow Besharam to reopen, but reopen it will, they promise, writing “we will be back, shortly, and stronger than ever.”