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Mati’s, the quick-service Indian restaurant that moved from Natomas to Midtown last year, will close for the final time this month.
Owner Ranjani Prasad said Monday that she’s shutting her doors for a variety of reasons.
“Even though our sales have not gone down, our costs have gone up,” she said. “People are not spending too much – they used to come in and get a two-item plate, but now they’re getting a one-item plate, and they’re not coming in as frequently.”
Many of the ingredients – notably the spices – are imported, and they continue to increase in cost. She said the mobile food trend has pinched business as well.
Located at 16th and P streets, the restaurant is close to Fremont Park.
“It used to be that after the farmers markets and other events there, a lot of people came here,” she said. “Now they have food trucks there, and food trucks are delivering to offices, so we see fewer people.”
Mati’s was formerly called Mati’s Indian Express, changing names when it opened in Midtown.
Moving to Midtown did not kill the business, Prasad said, but it did require her to have more employees – she has seven in the current spot, whereas the spot in Natomas required only one.
“You have to treat them right,” she said. “They should get raises every six months. You’re teaching them skills, and they’re getting experience. It’s better to have that, because then you have employees who care, and it saves you from turnover. I’d rather close than cheat them.”
Prasad said she does not intend to open another restaurant, but will return to the job she held as an accountant for the state, from which she plans to retire after a few years.
“I’m not going to do a food truck,” she said. “Maybe after I retire, I’ll get crazy and come up with that. But for now, I can say I won’t.”
The restaurant was open for almost seven years, and customers likened it to an Indian version of Panda Express, where the food is visible, and diners can choose a variety of combinations.
Single-item plates are sold for $6.99 and come with naan bread or rice. Multiple-item plates go for more, but Prasad said most people have their food and a drink for less than $10.
The restaurant will shut down on or before Oct. 27, with the final day to be determined later this week.
“I have no regrets,” Prasad said. “It’s not like moving to Midtown ruined my business. It gave me more business, but it’s just the economic situation.”
She added that the closure is a sad time for her and her son, Shawn, and she wishes she could continue to provide food for her regular customers.
“This was the best experience we had,” Prasad said. “We loved our place, the customers were happy, and most of our regulars were from here – that’s why we loved this spot.”
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