SFReview

photo credit: Erin Ng

Shuggie's review image
7.8

Shuggie’s Trash Pie

$$$$

3349 23rd St, San Francisco
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Shuggie’s turns trash into food. Blemished and surplus produce become toppings on grandma-style pizza, meat off-cuts are fried and dipped in buffalo sauce, and wilty chimichurri is poured over sexy little shareable plates. According to this pizza and natural wine place’s website, “40% of all food in the U.S. is trashed,” and Shuggie’s is doing its part to keep the planet in orbit. And while not every dish is a total hit, this Mission spot is still a worthwhile conversation starter. It’s also a funhouse-like setting to ponder sustainability's great conundrums and/or have a raucous group dinner over pizza and fried gizzards. 

This place is a kitschy fever dream, a hallucinogenic rabbit hole we actually want to go down. If you’re over Scandinavian design and rustic farmhouse minimalism, you’ll appreciate the highlighter green and yellow walls, the cheetah mural with a long, grotesque tongue, and giant, pea-green chairs in the shape of hands that look like they might crumple you whole. And when you put down your blemished strawberry slushy to head to the bathroom, you’ll encounter a replica of Michelangelo's David as tall as a My-Size Barbie. This spot is one hazy all-nighter in ‘70s viva Las Vegas. Elvis, where you at? (He’s in lamp form behind the glittery bar in the back.) 

Erin Ng

Shuggie's review image

Some of the food is as dreamy as the space. Standouts fall in a category we can only describe as “make do with what you’ve got.” Focus your attention on the pizza. Paper-thin squares (the crust is made from whey and spent oat flour) are topped with things like delicious salmon belly conserva and pickled relish (from their upcycled pickle company Ugly Pickle Co.), ground beef, tomatillos, and Takis. The menu also includes a random but satisfying Vietnamese-style jumbo salmon head and salad skewers served in anthropomorphic dishware, because, why not? At Shuggie’s, anything goes. 

However, balance and consistency are an issue. And we get it. Shuggie’s is making do with whatever ingredients they scrounge up every week to put a menu together. Still, the pizza crust can come out overly crackery or so soft that the tomato sauce, no matter how nice and tangy it is, transforms the bottom into a floppy mess. And that salmon head is overpowered by too much sticky fish sauce caramel. 

Erin Ng

Shuggie's review image

At some point during your meal, skepticism might rear its head. You might wonder how a dinner at this self-proclaimed “Food Waste Paradise” is helping to “save the f*cking planet,” or just how sustainable Shuggie’s is, really, since their website leans largely on vague, idealistic language like “climate-friendly restaurant” to describe itself. Hypnotize yourself in the marbled green and white tables and slip into the existential spiral. Does the onus to solve climate change fall on one restaurant alone? Of course not. How is eating Taki-topped pizza doing our part? (How does one upcycle Takis, anyway?) Our food system is terribly broken, so every little bit counts. Especially as our great oceans rise, fires burn, and in 12 years we might all internally combust from too much UV radiation. Shuggie’s is taking action. What have you done today? 

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Food Rundown

Erin Ng

Shuggie's review image

Bobo’s The Pep, The Roni

We like the combination of thick, sweet tomato sauce and honey, which you should absolutely top with airy ricotta fluff ($4 extra). What we don’t like so much: the slices can become a wet mess because the crust doesn’t have great structural integrity.

Erin Ng

Shuggie's review image

The Goddess

The two large skewers of leafy greens, shishito peppers, and tomatoes in a NSFW vase is aesthetically pleasing and fun. We just wish they were dressed more evenly and easier to portion out. The salad has a good crunch from the puffed rice crispies, but can be a little dry.

Soon To Be Famous Garlic Knots

While the bowl of five-to-six small, dense bread puffs might never be as famous as Elvis, we’re into them. The pool of chimichurri is spicy and herby, and we love the ultra-light, rich whipped ricotta cream the wings are doused in. Order at least once.

Erin Ng

Shuggie's review image

Buffalo Everything

Satisfying, but the wings are so ginormous they’ll fill you up quickly. They arrive on a red sushi boat with blobs of tangy buffalo sauce, and we appreciate that other chicken parts are represented in the mix: crunchy livers, gizzards, and hearts. Unless you’re with a group, skip this or risk getting full before the main course.

Pickle Lady

Salmon belly conserva, relish, and cream are an unstoppable trio that should hopefully scream out “Order me!” by some form of sorcery. This pie is pickle-y, rich, and delicious.

Dirty Daddy Dario

The simple sweet pistachio mortadella pie could use some sauce, instead of just baked parmesan and walnuts and, perhaps, a teensy bit of oil. Take the toppings away, and you’re left with overly crispy flatbread. Skip this.

Spicy ‘N’ Sticky Fish Head

Somewhere between totally random and kind of interesting is this huge, head-on fish collard. As you pick through the tender fish, you might wonder what fish collar is doing on the menu next to buffalo wings, garlic knots, pickled things, and pizza. Just go with it. You’re sitting on a lip couch, surrounded by tassels and glitter, after all. The sticky fish caramel sauce is great, but it can overpower the fish.

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