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
Sun-Thur 11am – 9pm
Fri-Sat 11am to 10pm
ENTREE RANGE: $8-$10.50


  1. ryanl

    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. geoff

    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.

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