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Businesses in the San Francisco Mission District are feeling optimistic after a busy holiday weekend

SAN FRANCISCO – The vibrant energy of Carnival has descended on Baobab restaurant in the Mission District, leaving a sense of calm after an incredibly busy weekend.

The Senegalese and African restaurant, owned by Marco Senghor, saw an overwhelming turnout during the festivities.

“We had outdoor food, street food, which is fantastic because we were interacting with the people walking by, and honestly we didn’t plan it, and we were overwhelmed, super busy. So that’s a big boost for us because the economy is not the best and we know how the mission is currently suffering,” said Senghor.

Bissap Baobab, located at Mission and 18th Street, was right in the path of Carnival 2024. Senghor described the day as one of the busiest since before COVID-19, with non-stop activity from early morning to evening leave.

“And people didn’t want to leave, it was 11 p.m. We started at 10 p.m. until 11 p.m. People wanted to dance, and they said we wanted more, and more, so you can imagine the energy level was low, but businesslike … We did pretty well in that regard. That was fantastic,” he added.

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The Carnival celebration, which coincides with Memorial Day Weekend, has given Senghor hope for a successful summer season. To accommodate the expected influx of customers, he has already opened the restaurant’s patio.

“We had the grill outside, we had the refrigerators here, we opened the gates, and it was incredible, like a new life for Baobab. Customer after customer came in and said, ‘Oh my God, look at the food.’ People on the street teach you that sometimes you don’t forget your values,” Senghor reflected.

According to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, restaurants can see a 20% increase in sales during the summer months compared to other times of the year. The combination of warmer weather, longer days and an influx of visitors exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods encourages dining out, especially in areas rich in cultural events like the Mission District.

Senghor shares this optimism.

“I really, honestly, believe it was a demonstration that entertainment and showing people their culture are the solutions to change this economy. I wish it was more than Carnival. I wish it was an Afrobeat festival and that many more things were happening outside.” ,” he said.

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With the unofficial start of summer bringing a flurry of activity, Marco Senghor and Bissap Baobab are ready to welcome the crowds, hoping for a season full of vibrant culture and booming business.

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