Senegalizza? Little Baobob now African-inspired pizza place
September 27, 2017
Top this: San Francisco newest fusion pizza is Senegalese.
Inspired by the success of Indian pizza in the city, Bissap Baobob owner Marco Senghor has converted his second space in the Mission into a pizza restaurant that offers three Senegal-inspired pies alongside traditional flavors.
Senghor said he struggled to come up with the right formula for the spot since he reopened in 2016 following a fire, but ultimately decided the wraps and crepes he was serving were too similar to what he was offering at Bissap Baobob, its adjacent sister restaurant and dance club.
“It was a big mistake … doing the same thing, having the same concept next door,” Senghor said Sunday, days after the new restaurant’s reopening.
The spot’s old name, Little Baobob, still hangs above the new 19th St. Pizza sign on the front of the building, but Senghor hopes the new menu is enough of a switch to attract a bigger late-night crowd.
19th St. Pizza, between Mission and Capp streets, is currently open from about 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. most days and closed Mondays. Senghor hopes to start offering delivery in the next couple months. Its thin-crust pizza offerings include yassa, inspired by the popular Senegalese dish, barbecue chicken with Senegalese flavors and an African seafood option.
The African pizzas, the first he’s aware of, got a great reception when he tried them out on patrons at Bissap Baobob, Senghor said. The pizza restaurant was already busy on Friday night, and on Saturday night, there was a line out the door.
Ultimately, Senghor said he hopes that the familiarity of pizza will entice people who would not otherwise be adventurous enough to try African food.
“People say, ‘African pizza?’ “I say, ‘Why not?,” he said.