May 3, 2023

19: Tackling Climate Change Through Food Waste | David Murphy & Kayla Abe, Shuggie’s

19: Tackling Climate Change Through Food Waste | David Murphy & Kayla Abe, Shuggie’s
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“Don’t pick the cheapest person, don’t pick the person who says they’re going to do it fast… pick the person that is the most responsible.”

In this episode we’re joined by David Murphy & Kayla Abe, co-owners of Shuggie’s Trash Pie & Natural Wine, a climate solutions restaurant highlighting upcycled ingredients, where they take all kinds of things left over from the food system and make them the stars of the menu.

Shuggie’s is the new hotness of the San Francisco food scene and beyond, having been featured in the SF Chronicle, NY Times, Eater National, and Esquire, who named them one of the Best New Restaurants in America in 2022.

Chef David and Kayla have created a fun, colorful, and lighthearted dining experience to tackle the problem of climate change. By using food waste products, upcycled ingredients, and natural wine to create a truly unique dining experience, they’re making it trendy and craveworthy to put food dollars to good use.

In this conversation we dive deep into what it took for David & Kayla to open Shuggie’s. We cover topics such as how they funded the business (and the challenges of using Kickstarter), finding a location without a real estate broker, mistakes made during the build-out process (like getting ripped off to the tune of $38k by a bad contractor), and much more.

Please enjoy my conversation with Chef David Murphy & Kayla Abe of Shuggie's.


Where to find Shuggie’s:


Where to find David & Kayla:


Where to find Bryan:


Where to find Kitava:



In this episode, we cover:

  • How Dave & Kayla went from selling “ugly pickles” to opening a restaurant centered around upcycled food ingredients
  • Why pizza was the perfect vehicle to transform a somber topic (food waste) into something light and fun
  • Using a unique and flexible brand style as an advantage to differentiate
  • Hard lessons learned from searching for a location without a real estate broker
  • “The space dictates a lot of what you can do”
  • The challenges of raising money through Kickstarter, and how they raised the rest of their seed capital
  • Getting $38k stolen from them by a bad contractor
  • How they structured their concept to enable a good quality of life for themselves and their staff
  • The downsides of brunch service
  • Why 7-day/week service actually allows for more staffing flexibility
  • On The Fly Segment
  • Plans for a future restaurant
  • Where the name “Shuggie's” came from