What’s the secret to a great family dinner? It’s in the Sauce!
There has been a lot in the news lately about family dining predicaments; fellow diners cranky over tempestuous toddlers and the like. While I am lucky to have (mostly) well-behaved boys, at least outside of our house, as a parent I know that kids can be terribly unpredictable. One of the best family dining experiences that I have had with my boys was at Sauce Pizza and Wine.
I was recently invited to the soft opening of Sauce’s newest location on Central and Camelback. A soft opening is basically a pre-opening run for the kitchen and wait staff before the restaurant officially opens. It allows for the whole team to assess successes and areas that need a little tweaking before the official opening. My boys were so excited when I told them we were going to be able to attend. They love pizza and they always feel a little extra special when they get to preview events with me. We were all on our best behavior and couldn’t wait to hit the road.
Once we arrived, we were warmly greeted and taken through the process of ordering. We had a chance to try out an appetizer, pasta, pizza and dessert. We ordered the Caprese Bruschetta, Mac n’ Cheese, Rosemary Potato pizza and their Nutella Trifle. Once we ordered we scoped out the dining room for the best seat, opting for a corner booth near the back of the restaurant so that I could get a great view of the entire restaurant. Our server, Kelly, quickly came to our table to check to see if we were settled in okay and if we needed anything. She was very sweet and especially kind to my children. There is no quicker way into my heart than to be sweet to my boys and I could tell that she was genuine. One of my boys might have been a little smitten by her as he ended up drawing on the hand out they give to their mini-diners and told me that he was going to give it to Kelly when we left.
The menu at Sauce is pretty straight-forward and not overwhelming, however some of the options are much more than your average sausage/pepperoni combos (though they offer that too.) I have a confession to make; I am not a huge fan of pizza. I know, I know. The other members of my family are, though, and are always quick to order or pick up a pizza when hunger strikes. What I love about Sauce is that they have a nice variety of pizza options as well as a build-your-own option. My guys can order their go to of some combination of meat and cheese and there are “fancy” non-traditional options for me. When we used to live near the location on Glendale and 7th street I was a persistent fan of the Rosemary Potato pizza. The pizza is comprised of thinly sliced potatoes, spinach, feta and an olive tapenade. I love how the saltiness of the tapenade mixes with the creamy feta and richness of the potato to create a great combination of textures and mouth feel.
My pizza purist boys wanted nothing to do with my pizza, which was perfectly fine with me, but they didn’t care because they each had bountiful bowls or creamy, cheesy Mac n’ Cheese. My 10 year old is a pretty picky eater and its sometimes hard to eat out with him as he’ll order something that he is used to having at home only to find that it is a little more complex and therefore unfamiliar which to him equates to not good. This was not the case with the Mac n’ Cheese, to my delight and his surprise. He was only two bites in when he announced that this was probably the best he had ever had. High complements from my tenacious tween! My 5 year old is a hearty eater and was also a huge fan.
I was only allowed one bite of the piece de resistance; the Nutella Trifle, and I suppose from that bite I know why. My singular bite was rich and velvety and I even got a little bite of banana. The boys shared the rest and were full of rave reviews, even asking if I could make it at home. Instead of going down that road, we will probably just head back to Sauce and look for Kelly. I know that the 5 year old won’t protest!
You can visit the new location at 25 E. Camelback Rd. in Central Phoenix starting on Tuesday, September 29th. And to make sure you do, I have a $25 gift card to get you started! Just comment below and let me know which of Sauce’s pizza combinations you can’t wait to try. I will pick a random winner on Friday morning. Feeling lucky?