[Photos: Gizelle Lau]
When Scott Selland talks about Acadia – shuttered at the end of last year – he sounds tired: "It wasn't supposed to be fine-dining" and "people didn't like the space." So, Selland and his wife, Lindsay, made a 180-degree shift with Red Sauce, a mass appeal American-Italian trattoria, newly opened and geared towards everyone: the lunch crowd, families, and late night partiers. As Selland explains: "We have two young daughters; we still love great food and drinks but we're not always comfortable going to restaurants without our kids." Red Sauce's interior is inviting and playful, but it wasn't just the space that had to change. Selland continues: "We wanted the style of food and the price point to be more accessible."
"The beating heart of the menu," devised by Selland and General Manager, Justin Shiels, centers around a parmesan section available by the roll, hero, or platter, and rounded out with wings agrodolce, blistered shishito peppers with black pepper aioli, mini-calzones, and an assortment of salads. Everything is made in house but they get their bread from Riviera Bakery down the street. Take-away service is happily accommodated. There is a heavy emphasis on keeping the drinks on the cheap: The cocktail menu never exceeds $9 a drink; wine bottles are capped at $35; and negroni on draft comes in at $6. As Selland says: "It's getting expensive to go out to eat. I'd rather have someone be able to order two drinks than have one for $14." They will also be partnering with Flying Monkey Craft Brewery to make a Red Sauce Ale house beer.
This time around, the Sellands don't have a name chef and put a lot more effort in the branding and marketing – working with Partkl's Nick Bujnak – to establish a consistent look and feel. One week in, some locals – formerly occasional Acadia customers – have already come back three or four times. Selland isn't getting too comfortable but he knows they made the right choice to switch things up: "By the looks of things, we've made a connection." Click above to take a look inside.