When I recently walked by the soon-to-open SHUGGIE’S TRASH PIE + NATURAL WINE about a month or so ago, I seriously felt my eyes bug out. There was so much vibrant green and yellow and glitter and kitsch, I was like, this can’t be San Francisco. But yes, it is—no subway tile or sage green or reclaimed wood communal tables in sight! And what a fitting business and aesthetic to take over the former Velvet Cantina (AKA the Regal Beagle to my friends a long time ago). Good times were had, and good times will continue (there will also be a margarita on the rocks on the menu)!
Shuggie’s is from food-waste activists Kayla Abe (Foodwise and Oatly) and chef David Murphy (Whitechapel, Madera, and Uchi in Austin), who have saved upwards of 40K pounds of produce to date with their other food-waste fighting project and award-winning pickle company, Ugly Pickle Co. Here at Shuggie’s, they’re offering an upcycled menu of shared plates and pizza (“trash pies”), using irregular or surplus California produce, byproducts from food manufacturing, and offcuts of meat, all paired with low-intervention, natural wines (there’s even an in-house bottle shop, The Wine Bodega). Plus: frosé, a seasonal blemished fruit slushie.
So, when you look at their menu, you’ll see all the scraps and leftovers and stems they’re rescuing listed, and their buffalo wings include gizzards (yes!), livers, and hearts. Even the pizza dough incorporates spent oat flour (the by-product from oat milk) and whey, a byproduct of cheesemaking (vegan dough available upon request). The upcycled dough is also used in their “soon-to-be-famous garlic knots,” with housemade ricotta fluff, carrot top chimichurri, herbs, and leaves.
About the pizza: it’s grandma-style, a thin and crispy square-cut pizza, with creative combos like The Casino (mussels, trotters, wilty greens, and parmesan furikake)—there will be five rotating pies highlighting irregular or surplus California produce, short-coded cheese from local dairy partner Cowgirl Creamery, and offcuts. You can read more about their mission on their site—nerd out for a moment!
Amazingly, Abe and Murphy designed the restaurant themselves, calling it “Hollywood Regency meets roller disco,” with thrifted and repurposed décor. There’s the monochromatic yellow dining room with multiple disco balls, a yellow lip-shaped sofa, and a cheetah mural by Abe, or the green room, with a nine-seat bar and built-in booths with green glitter in the booth upholstery and countertops. Long, slow clap for giving the City something fun and bold.
Open for dinner Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-12am. 3349 23rd St. at Bartlett.
The green room and grandma-style pizza and natural wine is the healing we need. Photo: Erin Ng.