There’s nothing subtle about Shuggie’s Trash Pie in the Mission District of SF. The interior is bold and colorful, the food is served with playful irreverence, and their mission is unapologetic: 40% of all food in the US is trashed and this needs to change. Owners Kayla Abe and David Murphy scour farmers’ markets and work with individual producers in order to rescue produce that would normally be left to rot in the field or end up in the trash. Good food that farmers just can’t sell. In their restaurant, it’s transformed into dishes that are both delicious and inspiring.
One example of Murphy and Abe’s approach is their tomato-centric ‘Mama Donna’s Polenta’. As Murphy explained it, “We take ALL of the tomatoes, not just the ripe ones. Most folks don’t know that when farmers pick tomatoes that they lose about 30%. The heaviest and ripest fruit at the bottom gets plucked for consumers but all the rest gets left in the field. We have our partners save all of them, the green, the beige, the pink, the red, and we utilize all of them in that dish… and it’s super tasty!”
Abe, with a background in sustainable agriculture, and Murphy, as an experienced chef, have first-hand experience with what goes to waste and how individual restaurants can make an impact. Together, they founded Ugly Pickle Co. in 2019 as a way to create something delicious out of “ugly” vegetables, otherwise destined for the compost pile. Shuggie’s Trash Pie is a continuation of that work and an opportunity to expand the types of food that they can utilize.
The menu ranges from playful salads like ‘The Goddess‘, to eye-catching dishes like their ‘Sticky ‘n’ spicy Fish Head‘. Their Trash Pies are also an absolute must-try. Their pizzas are a unique “grandma style” thin crust pie, whose dough is made using whey, a byproduct of cheesemaking, and spent oats, a byproduct of producing oat milk. Toppings rotate frequently, with a focus on creative flavors and textures.
“Pizza is our favorite food and the idea behind Shuggie’s was to make fun the focus. The dining scene has been so stale and serious for so long that we wanted a place where people could party and nosh on fun food, and there’s nothing more fun than pizza,” mused Murphy.
Shuggie’s Trash Pie and Natural Wine is open Tues-Wed 5pm-10pm, and Thurs-Sat 5pm-11pm. You can find them at 3349 23rd Street, San Francisco.
Featured Image: Erin Ng