Sauce Pizza opens; makes Sauce Soundbar change its name

Things get saucy at SLP's West End.
Things get saucy at SLP's West End.
Studio Laguna

On the heels of Toby Keith's recent West End debut, two Arizona-based restaurateurs with Minnesota ties, Michael McDermott and Jason Merritt, have opened Sauce Pizza & Wine in the St. Louis Park shopping park. The opening is already having a big impact on one local business--Sauce Spirits & Soundbar, five miles away in Uptown. It turns out Sauce Pizza has trademarked the name and alerted the year-old Sauce Soundbar that it will need to change its name by September 30. The Spirits & Soundbar folks say they've chosen a name but aren't quite ready to release it. Just so there's no confusion, here's more information on the newest Sauce.

The nine-location chain is based in Arizona and serves traditional northern Italian fare--a short list of chopped salads, thin-crust pizzas, panini, and pasta, along with beer and wine. (If you go, they're running a "Summer Sampler" deal, which includes one salad, one pizza and two glasses of wine for $20 until September 30.)

McDermott and Merritt are longtime family friends and graduates of St. Thomas and St. Johns, respectively. McDermott's father, Marno, founded the restaurant chain Chi-Chi's (named after McDermott's mother) in the 1970s, opening the first location in Bloomington. After selling Chi-Chi's, Marno went on to found Fuddruckers and Two Pesos. Michael McDermott inherited his father's entrepreneurial gene and launched several restaurant concepts, including what became Kona Grill, which McDermott and Merritt managed until recently. The two also plan to open another concept, Rojo Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar, in the Shops At West End in August.

As for Sauce Soundbar, stay tuned and we'll let you know as soon as they decide what to call themselves.

Sauce Pizza & Wine The Shops at West End 1610 West End Blvd., St Louis Park 952.657.5020;

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