During the seven months Scott Schymik spent planning his new Italian restaurant Sauced, no detail went overlooked and no surface went untouched. Schymik and Sauced Manager Wade Cartwright debated every aspect of the eatery from the thickness of the napkin and the weight of the fork to having an exclusive hostess every night and purchasing each server a pair of red shoes to wear.
“Details matter,” says Cartwright, an Evansville resident who has served as the manager at Sauced since the early planning stages.
Sauced, a recent addition to Haynie’s Corner Arts District located at 1113 Parrett St., opened on Dec. 3, 2014, a couple months later than originally expected. The restaurant was added next door to Kirby’s Private Dining, a catering service and venue Schymik also owns at 1119 Parrett St., in what was being used as a bridal shower room or an overflow area for weddings.
“We had a few opening days,” says Schymik, owner, operator, and head chef at Sauced. “I kept telling everyone that we weren’t going to put this together and open with Band-Aids. It was a total renovation — a lot — outside and inside.
“The community respected our decision of paying attention to the details with the food, with the colors, with the scheme. We brainstormed for seven months about what it should look like and what it should feel like.”
The result is intoxicating. When entering Sauced, your eyes first meet the beautiful black and red painted stairway to the second floor apartment and Cara Cartwright of Evansville, the restaurant’s hostess, who directs you to your table. Sauced seats 85 people in three rooms. On the way to the dining room, red painted accents pop against the gray walls lined with vintage photographs of the staff’s family. In the spirit of Haynie’s Corner Arts District, Sauced also displays all local artwork, including many paintings by Evansville artist Keith Boyd.
“The philosophy of teamwork and family as a staff is very important to me and Wade,” says Schymik, whose family can be seen in portraits on the walls. A menu from The Peacock, a restaurant owned by his grandparents in the 30s and 40s (they also owned a restaurant named Schymik’s), is framed on the wall and is the inspiration for a signature selection served at Sauced. The dish features spaghetti with meat sauce and fried chicken.
“I had never really seen it in any menu in my life,” says Schymik. “When I brought that picture of the menu in, Wade said, ‘we have to have that.’ It’s such an odd combination, but it’s so good.”
“It’s not only Southern Indiana, but it’s family history,” added Cartwright. “We are opening another generation of restaurants. Why not give a little homage to the past?”
The restaurant has a casual feel in a Victorian space providing an overall date night feel and a romantic atmosphere. The menu offers an array of quality ingredients with nearly every aspect of each dish made from scratch in the Sauced kitchen. Jars of vegetables, grown from Sauced’s garden, decorate the shelves of the dining room echoing the freshness of each bite.
To begin a dinner at the Italian restaurant means choosing from its seven antipasto or “before the meal.” One option is Sauced’s best-selling appetizer, the Ratano Carpaccio, which has a lightly seared tenderloin fillet, parsley, horseradish cream, marinated mushrooms, and pickled red onions. Another choice is the Salmone, which features smoked salmon, smoked in house, Harvati cheese, and baby greens.
Pair your choice with the Aviator Insalata, or salad, which has romaine lettuce, croutons, eggs, mustard, olive oil, and lemon. Schymik shares the unique history of the salad’s creation, which is the “brother” to the Caesar Salad. Some historians credit restaurateur Caesar Cardini with the invention of the salad in the 1920s, and his brother Alex Cardini, a pilot in the Italian Air Force, with adding other ingredients to create the Aviator Salad.
Next, choose from several mouthwatering entrees, including The Casalena, a dish featuring spicy Italian sausage, peppers, onions, marinara, and rigatoni. “There is a little heat there,” says Sauced Sous Chef Justin Evitts. “The sausage is hot. It is definitely spicy.”
The Casalena was conceived when an employee at Sauced pitched the Casalena family’s recipe to Schymik. Evitts “changed it up a bit so we didn’t steal any of their family secrets.” Today, the dish is one of its best sellers.
If the heat is a concern, don’t worry — Sauced offers the classics of Spaghetti, Fettuccine Alfredo, or the Stuffed Chicken Parmesan, made with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, linguine and marinara, and house vegetables.
Cap the evening off with a Flourless Chocolate Torte off the dessert menu, or alcoholic beverages from Sauced’s bar, The Blue Bar. Moriah “Mo” Hobgood, who formerly worked at Tin Man Brewing Company, is the mixologist behind many drink creations. One cocktail — the Bye Felicia Chocolate Martini (“Bye, Felicia” is a memorable quote from the 1995 movie “Friday,” which became an Internet sensation to symbolize a dismissive farewell) — combines the best of both worlds with Godiva chocolate and a bourbon base.
“It’s not any one of us that make this restaurant happen — it’s all of us,” says Cartwright.
Location: 1113 Parrett St.
Dining and Bar Hours: 4:30 to 10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 4:30 to 11 p.m. Fri. and Sat.
Website: facebook.com/comegetsauced or @Sauced812 on Instagram
Payment: All major credit cards accepted.