.Meet Too Good to Go: The Perfect App for Santa Cruz Foodies

Support local restaurants, discover bargains and shrink food waste using the new phone app

Imagine an app that could help reduce food waste, support local restaurants and deliver substantial bargains for around $5 a bag. 

If that sounds too good to be true, you’re getting warm. It’s called Too Good to Go, and it’s my favorite new smartphone foodie tool.

Too Good to Go started in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2016 and has been transforming food surpluses into fun meals in select cities worldwide since—but only recently made it into Santa Cruz. 

Using it is simple enough. Download the app, enter a search radius, peep who is participating, link payment and sign up to grab a “surprise bag” in the designated time window. 

TGTG describes the surprise part: “Beyond knowing the gist of what your order contains (for instance, muffins and pastries, or sandwiches and salads), the contents remain a delicious surprise until pickup time.”

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Both the contents and the deals proved delicious on my scouting outings. At the Original Ferrell’s Donuts, the friendly manager let me pick out a custom selection since she hadn’t yet prepped the bags. A massive haul of high-quality donuts resulted.

Downtown, Pono Hawaiian Grill loaded me up with a container of teriyaki chicken, macaroni salad, seasoned rice and kimchi. 

Across two Poke House visits, I got a sizable crispy shoyu chicken bowl over rice and greens and a bag of fresh salmon trim and salmon heads (and made my very first from-scratch fish stew!).

Each “bag” was $5 and met the stated goal of providing more value than you pay. 

While writing this, a peek at the app reveals El Rosal Bakery, Norma Jean’s Coffee, Dunlap’s Donuts and Peet’s Coffee are also on board with TGTG. Hopefully, having this out there will encourage more to join in.

Meanwhile, restaurant staff tells me the app, while it has some hiccups, not only clears their surplus for a modest return but also brings in visitors that might not otherwise stop by. 

Add in the fact the wider carbon-neutral TGTG organization—a certified B Corp—is partnering with schools and governments to reduce waste further makes me hope Too Good to Go goes and goes and goes. 


Woodhouse Blending & Brewing launched a compelling new special pop-up dinner sequence last week. The maiden voyage happened with Adorable French Bakery, and like each installment, featured special release barrel-aged beers exclusive to the pop-ups. The next dinner happens May 1, featuring smart Filipino fusion from Paul Suniga’s MASARAP. Head over to WBB’s Instagram for more.


Fun fact: I helped publish two seasonal recipes inspired by some of the best seafood found along the Central Coast in partnership with Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust, whose mission is to support a thriving ecosystem. (It stocks a lot of consumer resources as a result). Dive into cioppino by Phil DiGirolomo of Phil’s Fish Market fame and Sicilian crab by Domenic Mercurio of Cafe Fina at montereybayfisheriestrust.org. Bonus cut: Another story explains how local fisherfolk—including Santa Cruz resident and third-generation fisherman Valerie Phillips—work to direct healthy fishery management.


  1. Ive used the TGTG app before reading this article. I’ve picked up donuts from Albrights and tamales from El Rosal for pretty cheap. I understand the drive behind the app and support it, but I also wonder if maybe I’m consuming more than I would have otherwise. If there were an option to also donate a bag to a worker or an organization that provides food to people in need, I can see that working somewhat.

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