Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 26

n TASTE HUNGRY FOR MORE How Sonny Mayugba went from struggling musician to restaurant entrepreneur BY Blair Anthony Robertson PHOTOS: Debbie Cunningham I Sonny Mayugba is a partner in the soon-to-open Solomon’s Delica- tessen in downtown Sacramento. 26 | May 2019 t’s around 1992, and a long-haired dude in his early 20s is sitting with his friend at Taco Loco, a popular Mexican eatery on J Street in Sacramento. They’re eyeballing the customers, waiting to pounce. At this point in his life, Sonny Ma- yugba dreamed of being a rock star, but his band, Phallucy, was struggling and he was flat broke. Decades before he would become one of the most dynam- ic food-focused entrepreneurs in Sac- ramento and a force in a food-delivery startup now worth half a billion dollars, he was on the prowl for free grub. “We’d sit and wait and look for a cou- ple where one of them didn’t finish the food, and when they left, we would grab it before it got bussed,” recalls Mayugba, now 47. “We’d cut off the part they had been eating — and we’d eat the rest. I lived out of a storage shed and was basi- cally couch surfing.” Today, Mayugba is as hungry as ever. He recently celebrated the sev- enth anniversary of Red Rabbit Kitch- en & Bar, the lively Midtown spot he co-owns and says has racked up $14 million in revenue since it opened. He just launched Tiger, the restaurant and bar on K Street in downtown that serves New American cuisine, dim sum style. He’s a partner in the soon-to-open Sol- omon’s Delicatessen, also on reinvigo- rated K Street near Golden 1 Center; the new owner of iconic Sacramento brand Grateful Bread; and the creator and owner of the coming Market + Makers at lower Broadway, a 16,000-square-foot food hall and market.