Tag Archives: Scott Kilpatrick

Photo by Robin Sendele, Az Big Media

Sauce opens new location in Uptown Phoenix

Sauce Pizza & Wine opened the doors to its seventh Valley location in Phoenix. The fast-casual Italian restaurant located at 25 E. Camelback Road near Central and Camelback is the first site to open under the brand’s new owners led by local restaurateur, Scott Kilpatrick. Guests can expect the same great quality food and drinks, same friendly customer service, same inviting atmosphere but with a refreshed and reinvigorated design.

“We are proud to be expanding our presence in Phoenix,” said Kilpatrick. “We are especially excited about the look and feel of this restaurant and look forward to introducing the space to the Uptown neighborhood.”

Situated near a busy intersection in Uptown Phoenix, the charming 3,750-square-foot, white-brick building will serve as the home to the already popular dining spot. Unlike its predecessors, the new Sauce Pizza & Wine will feature an urban-like aesthetic. To add to the character of the building, the exterior walls have been hand-painted with an eye-catching mural of a Phoenix city street and woman in a headscarf and sunglasses. The restaurant also features a 400-square-foot patio covered with string lighting, radiating a metropolitan atmosphere. Inside, the space is more traditional to the brand, with retro-inspired chalkboard art carefully drawn by a local artist and a visible pizza oven behind the register.

Photo by Robin Sendele, Az Big Media

The menu includes a variety of salads, such as the Quinoa, Beet & Arugula with golden beets, avocado, goat cheese, fuji apples and pistachios and a gluten-free favorite, the Turkey & Feta with corn, cucumber, tomato, avocado and almonds. The heart and soul of the menu includes a “build-your-own” pizza, where guests can choose original thin or artisan hand-stretched crust that’s made fresh, in-house daily. A gluten-free option is also available. Signature pizzas include the Chicken Pesto with fresh mozzarella and marinated tomatoes and the Spicy Chicken Sausage with poblano peppers and smoked mozzarella. Additional menu options include paninis and pastas such as the Mac ‘N Cheese, a guest favorite.

Sauce Pizza & Wine is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10 p.m.


The backstory: RA Sushi

What started as a childhood friendship during grade school at a Scottsdale elementary school grew into an enduring business partnership. At the age of 28, Rich Howland and Scott Kilpatrick, along with two of their college friends, founded the now national sushi restaurant chain, RA Sushi Bar Restaurant.

Fresh out of college from The University of Arizona, Rich and Scott began their professional careers separate from one another, but it wasn’t long until the two concocted an idea to start a business together in their hometown of Scottsdale. Another college friend, Todd Belfer, was brought in as a business partner. It started when they purchased an Old Town Scottsdale restaurant called Trappers. With great enthusiasm, they decided to open an upscale Mediterranean restaurant in its place featuring complex entrees and an upscale design. The restaurant fell flat in less than eight months.

Back to the drawing board, longtime sushi fans, Rich and Scott realized there was something missing in the sushi restaurant scene in the Valley. Many traditional sushi restaurants were drawing crowds, but they didn’t have an alluring ambiance to combine with quality sushi.  The pair realized there was a demand for sushi restaurants, but they thought they could improve the concept by combining quality Japanese fusion cuisine, with a hip, stylish decor that would appeal to a younger crowd.

The concept was born, but the owners knew little about sushi operations. In June of 1997, they sought out a longtime acquaintance from their days in college, Tai Obata – a sushi expert and someone they trusted. Tai accepted a proposal to become a partner. To obtain funds to transform the failed Mediterranean restaurant into a trendy, contemporary sushi bar and restaurant, they brought in a number of colleagues who served as part owners. By adding investors, the original owners were able to greatly expand their circle of friends and customers. They credit much of their start-up success to this business decision.

The original team of owners quickly became the construction crew, interior designers and marketing professionals. Tai drew on his expertise as a native of Japan and longtime sushi chef to design the sushi bar and create the menu. Rich, Scott, Tai and the crew rolled up their sleeves and began building the restaurant’s interior all the while touting the new restaurant concept to locals.

In less than six months, the four business partners and a host of local investors opened the first RA Sushi in Old Town Scottsdale in October 1997. The concept took off and the place soon became the hotspot. By mid-1999, RA Sushi opened its second location in Tempe. The concept thrived and although there were some growing pains along the way, Rich and Scott remained at the helm. With a new bank loan and an extremely tight budget, RA opened two more locations in the Phoenix area in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, they were surprised to learn that Benihana Inc., operator of the nation’s largest chain of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants, was interested in purchasing the company.

Benihana purchased RA Sushi in late 2002 and immediately began expansion of the concept. What four young friends started has grown into a successful national restaurant concept with 25 locations throughout the United States. Initially, Scott, Rich and Tai stayed on board to oversee the exciting new adventure. To this day, RA’s corporate office remains in Scottsdale, with Scott as the Vice President and Tai as the Executive Chef. Rich has since moved on to other restaurant ventures.