Dawn Patterson and Lisa Garcia began Sauced Up, a restaurant and bar, with an oven and a food truck in 2020, and they opened the brick-and-mortar eatery Feb. 16.

Patterson said the journey started in 2017; however, it took them about three years to perfect their pizza recipes and start the food truck business.

The back story

Patterson previously owned a nationwide concession business that was shut down due to COVID-19 as the convention centers closed down. That's when Patterson switched gears to the food truck business, she said, which then grew into the restaurant.

Patterson said a few of the restaurant's pizzas are named after the original food truck’s customers. For example, the supreme pizza is named Bob, after a customer who demanded a supreme pizza choice before the restaurant had one.

The details

Sauced Up provides customers with a romantic restaurant setting with pizza paired with wine. It also includes a speakeasy via a hidden bookshelf entrance. Behind the scenes is a vibrant lounge for customers to enjoy drinks with a full bar and unique ambiance. The lounge will also have a stage and live music available soon, Patterson said.

The restaurant is family-friendly, as it includes outside seating with games and a children’s play section. Sauced Up is also undergoing renovations to have a beer garden added in mid-November, Patterson said.

What's on the menu?

Patterson said while Garcia perfects the pizza recipes, she oversees that the pizza is properly cooked in the wood-fired oven.

It can take someone up to a year to learn how to properly handle a wood-fired oven, Patterson said.

“Perfecting wood-fired pizza is an art and takes time to learn,” she said.

Patterson also said the wood-fired pizzas are made with the restaurant's housemade sauce and fresh ingredients.

“We go shopping throughout the week so that we can have the freshest ingredients that we possibly can,” she said.

Some signature pizzas at the restaurant include its jalapeno popper pizza made with cream cheese sauce and topped with a cheese blend, crumbled bacon and fresh jalapenos; as well as the Pesto Rita made with housemade pesto, fresh mozzarella and sliced tomatoes, and sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano and truffle oil. A No. 1 seller at Sauced Up is the PSP pizza, which includes sausage, bacon and pepperoni.

The restaurant also offers gluten-free and cauliflower pizzas, and customers can build their own pizza.