Biju Thomas plans to pull his curry shop out of RiNo.
The owner of Biju’s Little Curry Shop said Friday that the brand’s location at 1441 26th St., between Walnut and Blake streets, will close for good by Halloween.
“Our lease is up in November, and lease rates are going up about 30 percent in RiNo,” Thomas said. “It’s not really sustainable for us anymore. In RiNo, all the activity is going to Larimer Street — for a lot of us on Walnut, the business isn’t as robust.”
Biju’s got a new landlord last year when his building was purchased by Edens, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate company, as part of a broader $50 million deal.
With school starting this month, Thomas said he’s losing about 10 of 40 employees at his locations. The bulk of those leaving had been stationed in RiNo.
“I could hire more employees, but then I’d have to let them go in a month,” he said. So instead, the business has switched to a lunch-only model. Until its closure in late October, the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
“We put a lot of money into that build out, so it’s not easy to walk away from,” Thomas said. “But we’re trying to grow the business nationally — we’re going to start franchising in the next 18 months, starting in Dallas.”
The RiNo location, which opened in 2014, is Biju’s original one. Thomas added a location at 4279 Tennyson St. in Berkeley in 2016, and earlier this year opened within Broadway Market at 950 Broadway.
Thomas said changes are coming to the Berkeley location. It will briefly close at the end of September for remodeling, and return with an expanded bar menu and South Indian-inspired brunches on Saturdays and Sundays.