RiNo location of Biju’s Little Curry Shop to close by Halloween

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Its RiNo location was the first for the brand, which now also has outposts in Berkeley and the Golden Triangle. (Photos courtesy Biju)

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.”

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Biju Thomas

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.”

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The restaurant’s menu is centered on curry and South Indian-inspired dishes.

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.

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Its RiNo location was the first for the brand, which now also has outposts in Berkeley and the Golden Triangle. (Photos courtesy Biju)

“Our lease is up in November, and lease rates are going up about 30 percent in RiNo,” said owner Biju Thomas, who opened in RiNo in 2014 and since has added other locations.

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4 Comments

Sammy Sousa

The fact that Eden’s is jacking up the rent by 30% for Biju’s, a mainstay of RiNo’s restaurant scene, flies in the face of their own stated mission statment: “… to enrich community through human engagement.” How are local business to survive in a market where investors/brokers are taking advantage of increasing property values by passing on unsustainable rental rates to local tenants in order to meet pro forma cap rates? There’s only so many Patagonia’s to go around…

Eric Dolo

Great food, absolutely agree S. Sousa’s reply. Note to reporter Libby Flood. This location is already shuttered. Went down there for lunch during work two weeks ago & sign sent patrons to Berkeley / Tennyson locale. Was bummed because I’d read it was closing Halloween 👻 🎃

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