Just two years after purchasing the Mission District building that houses the Senegalese eatery and popular nightclub Bissap Baobab, owner Marco Senghor said Friday that he plans to shutter the business in three to four months’ time.
Senghor, who will remain on the block with a nine-year lease for the adjoining Little Baobab at 3388 19th St., said he sold the Bissap Baobab building at 3376 19th St. for $2.2 million to the owners of El Porteno Chifa Peruano, a Peruvian restaurant currently located at 5173 Mission St. in the Excelsior district, as was first reported by Mission Local. The sale included the establishment liquor license.
Last August, Senghor was arrested and indicted on charges that he illegally obtained his U.S. citizenship, to which he has plead not guilty. He told the San Francisco Examiner on Friday that he is still fighting the case against him, but that Bissap Baobab’s closure is unrelated. He declined to comment on further on details of the case.
“Im taking a small break because I’m trying to do much bigger things,” he said, adding that he is Keeping little Baobab and will reopen a new, bigger business elsewhere.
The Senegalese entrepreneur launched a career spanning more than two decades in the Mission District by initially operating little Baobab as a nightclub serving as a unique hub for Latino and African culture and music until a kitchen fire shuttered the establishment in 2013.
He reopened Little Baobab in the spring of 2016 as a late-night take-out restaurant and now plans to restructure it to serve more “African fast-food.”
Senghor also ran an iteration of the Baobab nightclub in Oakland, which closed last year due because business was slow. He told the San Francisco that he is considering reopening his business in the East Bay.
Over the next three months, he also plans to secure a new location to expand his brand in San Francisco, with a larger event and music space.
“Even before the [legal case], I was thinking about changing it up. I have done it for too long,” said Senghor. “ I also realized the space was too small for what really i wanted to do. I found out over years I am more of a promoter, a DJ, a party organizer — and to bring the show that I want to bring in, my space is too small.”
Senghor purchased the Bissap Baobab building in 2017 in an effort to secure his future in the Mission District. Now, he said he is ready to give other neighborhoods a try in the hope of fulfilling a much larger vision.
Senghor said he is currently looking for warehouse spaces in the Bayview and Dogpatch neighborhoods.
“For me to nourish my motivation, my spirit, I have to do what I really want to do and have a venue that would serve 500 to 1,000 people,” he said.
Senghor said that he planning Bissap Baobab’s last day to be sometime in May, and that he has no regrets about the sale.
“It’s time for me to move on to a new chapter in my life. I think it’s a perfect opportunity,” he said. “I sold to wonderful people from Peru who are at a different stage than me. They have a small restaurant and they are looking to come into a hot neighborhood and expand.”