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Beware This SF Man Who Eats Leftovers Off Strangers’ Plates at Restaurants

No cold French fry is safe when this guy’s around


A 43-year-old San Francisco man is proudly finishing plates of leftover food at local restaurants, and no one’s last bite is safe. In an interview with Deadspin, the unabashed moocher congratulates himself for flouting social norms at establishments like Swan Oyster Depot. At least the restaurant choice betrays some taste, even if the behavior is arguably tasteless?

“The seated people ahead of us had ordered sashimi,” says the man, who identifies himself by the first name “Alex” and who says he works in finance. “They had eaten some of it but had left a bunch of it out. We’re kinda hungry. It’s the morning. It’s just going to be thrown away. So I didn’t ask or anything … I just went up and I grabbed it and popped one in my mouth...”

Why? Alex’s answer is basically “why not?” He’s never gotten sick, and he basically thinks that social norms are stupid, don’t apply to him, or both.

But Alex isn’t a total, lawless rogue: He has a few rules. He wouldn’t necessarily try his trick at a fine dining establishment, and he won’t steal bites from a shared bowl of curry that had been discarded, he says. But leftover guacamole? He’ll grab a chip and dip in.

Waiters don’t approve, Alex concedes, and he’s learned not to ask them if he can give it a go: better to ask forgiveness rather than permission, he says. But the philosophy is simple (and Alex is, unsurprisingly, an avowed Libertarian). “I feel like this is a victimless crime. As a matter of fact, I think chefs don’t want to see food go to waste. I don’t think there’s any negativity to be doing this.”

Alex even has a girlfriend (or says he does) who has taken up the habit herself, though for different reasons. She hates to see food go to waste, while he’s more concerned with getting an extra bite to eat (and, it sounds like, a bit of a rise out of people).

Alex’s dining habits might come across as a sign of these entitled times, a parable of male arrogance in San Francisco 2019. But this quirky behavior might be a throwback to a more free-spirited time in San Francisco. Alex is an SF native, after all. And he doesn’t care — and in fact enjoys — that his dining might scandalize others. Asked by Deadspin if he’s worried about outrage, Alex said:

“I live in San Francisco. I’m from San Francisco. I’ve dealt with outrage my whole life.”

Swan Oyster Depot

1517 Polk Street, , CA 94109 (415) 673-1101