Lonely Planet Writer

Dumpster dinners spread to San Francisco with the Salvage Supperclub

If your idea of a nice meal is top quality food served in a smart restaurant then you’ll probably want to avoid the latest dining experience on offer in San Francisco – dumpster dinners.


Literally taking place in cleaned-up rubbish dumpsters, these meals reuse food that has been thrown away but is still good to eat. The company running these dinners, Salvage Supperclub, believes that much of the food we all put in the trash is discarded unnecessarily. Items that are slightly past their sell-by date or things that don’t look quite as nice as we’ve come to expect (slightly bruised apples for example) are all still good to eat but are wasted because people have become too fussy.

The company aims to educate consumers by holding occasional meals that feature innovative, carefully prepared dishes such as extra-ripe tomato gazpacho, roasted runt radishes, pickled watermelon rind and bruised baby beets on the menu.

Begun in New York a few years ago, a Salvage Supperclub dinner isn’t cheap – the cost for the most recent San Francisco dinner was a hefty $125 per head – but money raised helps local charities which, in the case of San Francisco, was a non-profit called Food Runners, an organisation that collects unwanted food from shops, restaurants and caterers and delivers it to soup kitchens and other providers of food for people in need.