San Diego District Attorney Opens Investigation Into Local Restaurant Group Following Unpaid Wages Allegation & Protest

June 12, 2024

Following our report that the owner of area restaurants Wormwood in North Park and Tahona in Old Town failed to pay employees their final wages, the San Diego District Attorney has opened an investigation into the local hospitality company.

We recently reported that Be Saha Hospitality had ceased managing The Guild Hotel's onsite dining and events after a year and a half. Most employees of the hotel's onsite restaurant and bar had not been paid their final wages for May. Following our article, the story was picked up by many other area publications, and a protest was held outside Be Saha's Wormwood restaurant in North Park, which had closed for the night in anticipation of the demonstration. Although Be Saha's founder, Amar Harrag, eventually paid employees for their labor, it was claimed that they were not paid gratuity and service wages, which allegedly account for the majority of their salary.

We have now been contacted by an investigator from the San Diego District Attorney's Office assigned to the Workplace Justice Division. The city is investigating the issues surrounding Be Saha Hospitality Group.

"I came across your story that was published on June 4th regarding the issues," wrote Yvette Gaines, San Diego District Attorney Investigator in the Insurance Fraud/Workplace Justice division. "I was hoping I could get assistance getting in contact with any of the victims that have been affected by this. I would like to speak with them and see if we could help. I know after reading your story there were employees that wanted to remain anonymous and I completely respect that. I would only be asking to speak with them and they could ultimately decide if they would want to move forward with working with our office after we talk."

In addition to purportedly failing to pay employees of The Guild Hotel, many current and former staff members claim Be Saha frequently bounced paychecks and paid late. Another former high level employee stated chronic non-payment also caused issues with vendors and suppliers.

Amar Harrag, a dual citizen of France and the U.S., opened mezcal-focused Tahona bar & restaurant in San Diego's Old Town in fall 2018. A native of France and graduate of University of San Diego, Harrag also co-owns numerous locations of Matisse Bistro in San Diego and Irvine. Under his Be Saha Hospitality Group, he also operates Hidden Craft self-serve beer bar and restaurant in downtown San Diego, Wormwood absinthe bar and French bistro in North Park/University Heights, NFT art gallery/Spanish restaurant and gin bar Botanica in North Park, and several dining and drinking operations in Baja California. He also runs real estate brokerage Allied Green Realty. Downtown San Diego's The Guild Hotel partnered with Amar Harrag's Be Saha Hospitality Group to reignite the property's onsite dining & beverage programs in late 2022.

Former and current employees of Be Saha Hospitality are asked to contact the San Diego District Attorney by emailing [email protected] or calling 619.531.3515. The investigator has stated she is willing to maintain the anonymity of sources.

For more information about Be Saha Hospitality, visit