Sauce Bar & Bistro opened this summer in the Czech Village neighborhood in Cedar Rapids. On the outside it is a low-key place, and might be easy to miss since its not on the main drag of 16th Avenue. Czech Village and New Bohemia are two neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids that have a lot of new restaurants and commerce that always seem to have fun new places popping up.
I was in my hometown visiting my family, and my dad and I planned to meet on a weekday for lunch, so he wanted to check out a place he might not go during the week. I’m always nervous walking into places I haven’t researched beforehand, as I don’t want my only food option to be salad without protein as has been known to be the case. (Why a restaurant finds that an acceptable solution I won’t ever understand.) I walked in and along the main wall are two chalkboards. One lists where ingredients are sourced and how far away they are from. The other has specials and the list of local tap beers. An emphasis on transparency and local, seasonal products, I like that.
Once I sat down and looked at the menu (which had the day’s date listed on it, showing they update the menu daily), I was very relieved to see stated at the bottom how any meal could be made vegetarian by substituting tempeh or portobellos (and I see the website lists black beans as a sub, too).
Since I came at lunch, the selection of soups, salads and sandwiches made it easy to pick a vegetarian meal. A lot of the sandwiches looked tasty and hearty, but once I saw Reuben listed, I stopped looking. Sandwiches come with a variety of sides, and I picked the vegetarian homemade tomato soup. It was thick and creamy with the right amount of flavor. For my Reuben I got both tempeh and portobellos. Crazy, right? Crazy good!
To wash it down I went with a Turner Alley Brewing Czech Pilsner (it was noon, afterall!). This is a fairly new production brewery that doesn’t have a taproom, and I hadn’t tried any of the beers yet, so I was happy to see it on the menu.
All in all, this was a tasty menu for a great price. My lunch was $9 and for the month of October 2015 vegetarian meals are 10 percent off to celebrate Sauce’s designation as a Blue Zone restaurant. And with the variety of sandwiches that can be made vegetarian and side options, I can keep going back and getting a different meal.