Sauce Pizza & Wine, an acclaimed Arizona-based pizza joint, recently opened its first out-of-state location in Winrock Town Center here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The restaurant’s CEO, Scott Kilpatrick, made the decision to open an Albuquerque location after finding great success at his 13 Arizona locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, and more. Albuquerque’s proximity and resemblance to Tucson in terms of ambience and environment made the city a prime candidate for a new location. The restaurant perfectly complements the busy ABQ Uptown area, adjacent to shopping centers and Coronado Mall.

Sauce utilizes a strategy in serving its customers not unlike that of Panera Bread; patrons order and pay at the front, are given a table-marker, and have their food brought to them shortly after. This quick yet classy business model is becoming more and more common in new restaurants, and by utilizing this method, Sauce is able to accommodate everything from official business meetings to family dinners. Despite the restaurant’s fast-paced nature, the restaurant exudes a level of formality. With 45 staff members and and four managers, work gets done quickly, but make no mistakeit gets done well, too.

Despite its vast selection of pastas, salads, paninis, and soups, I decided to go for Sauce’s signature dish and its namesakethe pizza. I ordered the Mozzarella, Fontina & Basil. On a whim, I also opted to try their cannoli, intrigued by their “house-made ricotta filling.” Within 10 minutes, wait staff arrived with my food, an impressive feat considering how crowded the restaurant had become. The unassuming thin crusted pizza packed flavor, though I shouldn’t have been surprisedafter all, Sauce’s claim to fame is their sauce, which was flavorful and savory, but did not overpower the mozzarella cheese and fresh basil topping. The cannoli, though overshadowed by the pizza, was still incredibly rich and flavorful, with a creamy but not overly sweet filling. The ingredients, as boasted on the site website, were fresh and delicious, making the meal even more enjoyable.

Even with the many recent shop and restaurant closures at ABQ Uptown such as Ann Taylor Loft and Marcello’s Chophouse, Sauce’s upbeat outward appearance and cheery interior rejuvenate the area. With the possibility of more Albuquerque locations, possibly off of Paseo Del Norte, in Nob Hill, or near Cottonwood Mall, Sauce looks to make Albuquerque its new home.

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