Sauce Pizza and Wine in St. Louis Park: A Preview

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Editor’s Note: Sauce Pizza and Wine is now closed.

There’s a new Sauce in town – and it’s not the Soundbar.* The transplant of a Fox Restaurant Concepts-driven Arizona chain, Sauce’s first Minnesota location opened Monday in St. Louis Park’s Shops at West End.

The eatery is fashioned along the same lines as a Noodles & Company or counter service Punch Pizza: computerized menus line the wall leading to the cashier; large Italian-style decals adorn the walls. The menu is concise yet efficient, ranging from salads to pizza to pasta, with a basic wine list and a small, unglamorous beer selection.

A first sample of a Chicken & Pine Nuts salad ($7.75) was dressed in vinaigrette and pungent gorgonzola; a slight upgrade to grilled chicken breast from the sliced deli meat could have improved the texture. A Vegetable & Avocado salad ($6.75) had a subtler flavor, with a mixture of corn, carrot, asparagus, and cucumber providing a nice crunch. Both salads were heavily dressed; ask for the dressing on the side if you like your lettuce crisp.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

The ‘sauce’ theme carries on in the Meatballs and Red Sauce ($5 / small, $8 / large – oddly listed on the back of the menu with the drinks and desserts), which comprised al dente shells and three large, ho-hum meatballs tossed in a nicely seasoned, smooth marinara. The pizza, however, was a puzzle: Despite the red spiral on the menu denoting red sauce, a thin stripe of red beneath the Mozzarella, Fontina Cheese, & Basil ($8.75) was the only evidence of sauce on the thin crust pie – at which our party wondered, “If they don’t use sauce on the pizza, shouldn’t the place be called ‘Crust?'” A Rosemary & Potato version ($9.75) boasted no noticeable sauce whatsoever, but made up for it with a generous sprinkling of mozzarella, feta, spinach, and a decorative swirl of olive tapenade. Thin slices of potato offered starch and substance to offset an otherwise salty combination, providing a chewy texture unlike the Garlic Mashed Potato pizza of Pizza Luce fame.

As the event we attended was a free media preview, Sauce was still working out a few kinks — pasta arrived before the salad course, servers were still learning details of the menu items. However, what some of our servers lacked in panache they compensated with eager smiles and a willingness to keep our water glasses full.

Sauce doesn’t provide fine dining – rather, it offers fast, decent food at reasonable prices, with friendly service to boot. This place should be a hit with shoppers at the mall and, with their inaugural summer sampler deal (one pizza, one salad, and two glasses of wine for $20), could easily become a destination for a cheap yet tasty meal.

*Sauce Spirits & Soundbar is slated to change its name this September, as Fox Restaurant Concepts owns the rights to the name.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Sauce Pizza & Wine
1610 West End Blvd
Saint Louis Park, MN 55416
952.657.5020
HOURS:
Sun-Thur 11am – 9pm
Fri-Sat 11am to 10pm
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $8-$10.50

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Maja Ingeman

The daughter of an artist and a music teacher, Maja spent much of her childhood traveling the country in a rusty old van, attempting to model all of her father’s salable jewelry at the same time, and sampling the many edibles available both on the road and at the art fairs they visited. Though she now lives in Minneapolis, the coffee addiction and love for food that she picked up en route to one of their many destinations never left her. Between marketing work in the medical device industry and poring over the Harvard Business Review, she can typically be found holed up in her kitchen, baking bread every weekend and experimenting in between.

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6 Comments

  1. Fast Casual – dinner for the twitter attention span generation.

    I’m interested to see how they build beverage revenue-I am prone to waffling while I imbibe and fast casual is usually set up for high churn.

  2. I ate lunch @ FRC’s True Food Cafe in PHX/Scottsdale this past April and it was 100% fantastic. Lived up to the name, as everything was whole/organic/local where possible, service was spot-on, accommodating, friendly (doting, even), menu was creative without overreaching. But my favorite trick of all was that the kitchen transcended being open and spilled right out into the dining room. Cooks were literally making ravioli on high butcher blocks between dining room tables and were engaging guests in conversation about the food. A true dining experience.

    And funny enough, I saw a table of familiar faced women-of-a-certain-age from the western MPLS burbs (you know, golfing retired MSP mag subscribers with 2nd homes in Scottsdale) right there in the middle of the Arizona desert that day. I should have taken that as a sign. Seems to me that Fox knows restaurants and will give other similar sized chains operating locally (Parasole, D’amico, Lettuce to name a few) a serious run for their dining dough.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. […] Note: a couple cohorts with the Heavy Table stopped by you can read another take on Sauce Pizza and Wine there. […]

  2. […] more of it. Priced at $13, the pizza was a generous size, but you can get a better, cheaper pie at Sauce Pizza and Wine in the same complex or the Punch Pizza near Lake Calhoun. Katie Cannon / Heavy […]

  3. […] in St. Louis Park. Owned by McDermott and his partner, Jason Merritt, Rojo followed on the heels of Sauce Pizza and Wine, their previous venture at the Shops at West End. A quote by McDermott in their press release […]

  4. […] offers cooking classes once again, and @AliShops notes the disappearance of Sauce (read our review here) to provide more space for Rojo (covered here). » Sauce Out, Rojo IN and November 3 […]

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