The Sauce Bar & Bistro offer delightful dining in historic Czech Village

Lenny Sims along with Chris Robinson own The Sauce.
Lenny Sims along with Chris Robinson own The Sauce.

While it is cool to dine in a fun new place, what is even cooler is to dine in a cool new place in a historic building in a historic neighborhood. That’s just what I did on a recent visit to Cedar Rapids with my mom. The Sauce is located in a revamped building and is located in the historic Czech neighborhood.

On this press trip where I was learning about art in Cedar Rapids and more, we met up with Go Cedar Rapid’s Jennifer Pickar and enjoyed some amazing grilled cheese on parmesan-herb encrusted sourdough along with a bowl of tomato bisque soup.  This selection was after a good ten minutes of mulling over the menu.

Lenny Sims one of the owners of The Sauce Bar & Bistro along with his business partner Chris Robinson was on hand to share a bit of information. Lenny and Chris literally saved this building from demolition after the record breaking flood of 2008 that has transformed this city from the inside out.

The Sauce has been open since 2013 after the owners took the building down to the studs and worked revamping it over an 18 month period.

The Sauce is not Lenny Sims first foray into the food business.  “I started at the ballpark at 11 or 12 and I liked the hospitality side,” Lenny said.

After a stint at Olive Garden and a few other places he and Chris decided to give this a go.  “I hosted, bussed, bartended, was front of the house and cooked, I did it all,” Lenny said.

These days Lenny is mostly front of the house and he uses his degree in finance.  The name of the restaurant came from a quote Lenny said a food writer wrote.  “They said food was just food before sauces, and then it became cuisine.”

Sauces make everything better. Lenny said his favorite sauce they offer is the Czarina Salad Dressing, “It’s a take on the Caesar dressing,” Lenny added.

His personal favorite menu items include the House burger, a half-pound burger with mushrooms, bacon, and lettuce and tomato confit.  He also favors the Banh MI, a sandwich made from Braised Pork belly with Pickled Vegetables, Cilantro, Cucumber, Lime, on a Baguette.  Customers love like we did, the grilled cheese, pasta which changes daily and is made from scratch.

The beer is local and they have a whiskey club with a devoted following. Besides special events, the diner keeps busy with lunch and dinner options.  Local food, from local producers keeps customers coming back again and again.

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