UWS Restaurants Offer $5 Bags of Surprises

Support local businesses and help fight global food waste with Too Good To Go (www.toogoodtogo.org), an anti food waste app created in 2015 by five young entrepreneurs from Denmark. Too Good To Go launched its fight against food waste in Europe in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. 30 million people have signed up for the service in 15 different countries, with the United States being added in 2020. The app is now available in NYC, New Jersey, and Boston.

With a third of the world’s produced food never consumed, and 40% of food in the United States similarly wasted, making this service available for U.S. consumption makes obvious sense. What may not be obvious is the positive impact that eliminating food waste has in helping forestall climate change. According to non-profit climate advocacy group Project Drawdown, “the food we waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of global emissions.”


On a local scale, Too Good To Go is anything but too good to be true. The average investment to combat food waste is $3.99 to $5.99 and well worth the return. Users of the free app can reserve “surprise bags” of surplus food from local coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries. In return, consumers can expect to reap a haul of delicious meals and treats, often valued at twice the price one would pay if the food items were personally selected.

A surprise pastry bag from Boule & Cherie, located at 172 Amsterdam Avenue, included three croissants and a cheese danish for $3.99. For $4.99, Breads Bakery at 1890 Broadway provided a loaf of freshly baked challah bread and two puff pastries.

Though it appears participating restaurants and stores may change, some additional recent participants have included:

  • Cafe Viva (2578 Broadway between 97th and 98th Streets)
  • Muffins Cafe (222 Columbus Ave between 70th and 71st Streets)
  • Shiny Tea UWS (2667 Broadway between 101st and 102nd Streets)
  • Pick A Bagel (39 West End Ave between 61st and 62nd Streets)
  • Perfect Picnic (405 Central Park West between 100th and 101st Streets)
  • Los Vecinos Meat Market and Supermarket (987 Amsterdam Ave, between 108th and 109th Streets)
  • Substance Vitality Bar (2268 Broadway between 81st and 82nd Streets)
  • Coco Fresh Tea & Juice (124 West 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues)
  • Space Market (526 Columbus Avenue between 85th and 86th Streets)
  • Talia’s Steakhouse (668 Amsterdam Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets)

The app does not offer specifics on the contents of any surprise bag, but each participating restaurant is user rated on a five-star scale. Participants appear to have a somewhat limited number of bags, with some of the local favorites running out of them quickly.

Too Good To Go is free and available through the Google Play app or from Apple’s App Store.

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