SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Opening April 19 in San Francisco, Shuggie’s Trash Pie & Natural Wine will put a funky spin on conventional dining with its “grandma-style” pizza, monochromatic color scheme and its ardent dedication to no wasting of food — which may mean “ugly” veggies on the plate.
Launching the Mission District restaurant, at the former Velvet Cantina locale, are co-owners and food-waste activists, David Murphy, a chef of 20 years, and Kayla Abe, who serves on the Upcycled Food Association board.
Together, they estimate they have saved more than 40,000 pounds of produce with their award-winning, San Francisco-based pickle business, Ugly Pickle Co. — which touts its usage of cosmetically challenged produce.
Falling into that category are the “three-legged carrot, the overgrown squash, the curved cucumber,” the company said. “Slightly misshapen, cosmetically blemished — perfectly edible, but imperfect enough to pass over. … If farmers can’t sell it, it’s food waste all the same.”
That practice of rescuing produce that would otherwise be trash is the backbone of Shuggie’s mission and menu.
“Now as we expand and open our first restaurant,” Abe said, “we are excited to continue implementing our food-waste fighting practices on a larger scale, while giving people more opportunities to eat their way toward a more sustainable future.”
Shuggie’s menu will feature pizzas aka “Trash Pies” — all “grandma-style,” super thin, crispy and square-cut. The dough will be from spent oat flour (the by-product from oat milk) and whey (the by-product from the housemade ricotta and partnerships with local dairies).
A few pies, such as BoBo’s The Pep, The Roni (blemished tomato sauce, pepperoni, chili, honey), will be permanent menu fixtures, while there will be five, rotating pies highlighting a mix of irregular or surplus produce and cheeses, the owners said.
The menu’s shared plates options will offer such food-waste-fighting dishes as the Soon-to-be-Famous Garlic Knots (upcycled pizza dough, topped with housemade ricotta fluff, carrot top chimichurri), Buffalo Everything (chicken wings with addition of offcuts like livers, gizzards and necks, topped with a secret, buffalo Calabrian chili sauce), and Fried Pickle Kakiage (Japanese tempura fritter with Ugly Pickle Co. pickles, green onion roots, served with housemade surplus buttermilk shiso ranch).
Wine offerings are low-intervention, natural varietals from small-batch producers. Other beverages include Frosé, a seasonal blemished fruit slushie, and a “Velvet Cantina” margarita on the rocks, an homage to the restaurant that closed in 2020 after occupying the space for 14 years.
For Shuggie’s, Abe and Murphy designed the 1,300 square feet as funky, maximalist and monochromatic with a vibe they describe as “trashy glam.” Diners can select the all-green room, all-yellow room or outdoor sidewalk seating. (Scroll through the photo slideshow at top of this post to get an idea.)
In keeping with their anti-waste ethics, the pair thrifted, repurposed or hand-built most of the decor, including the fringe lamps, hand-shaped dining chairs and art.
At 3349 23rd St. in San Francisco, Shuggie’s will be open for dinner Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Visit Shuggie’s website here.