My typical formula for a successful independent eatery can be boiled down to three words: Keep it simple.
Do a few, signature things very well. Don’t have a long menu. Stick to your expertise, don’t stray into other areas.
It’s a good thing Jenna Bazzana doesn’t listen to the likes of me.
The owner of the rather new Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market, in southwest Calgary, happily tackles all sorts of businesses under one, expansive roof. There’s a market. There’s a café. There’s a full-fledged, elegant restaurant. There’s a bakery. There’s a coffee roastery. There are evening events, as well as catering. Need I go on?
And by all appearances, this little food empire is a smashing success. At mid-week lunch, the restaurant is buzzing, with the open kitchen churning out plates of wood-fired pizza and house-made pasta featuring Rosie’s (Jenna’s mother) Bolognese sauce; you can also buy it in the deli to take home. Two of us dig into flavourful bowls of clam linguini (a great deal at $12), while I savour a roasted vegetable and eggplant parmigiana ($15), which comes with a large, mixed-greens salad—almost a meal in itself.
It’s a friend’s birthday, so we score a complimentary piece of house-made cannoli. And as I’m leaving, I pick up a pound of fresh-roasted coffee, while eying all the cold cuts and cheeses that go into the deli’s paninis. Next time.
Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market
3326 17 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta
Restaurant: Sunday to Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday-Saturday 11 am-11 pm