Alex Donley called dibs on this a while ago.
Before Sauce on the Side ever considered moving from its original downtown location at 903 Pine, Alex Donley, owner of Gioia’s Deli (and the popular Gioia’s “Hot Salami on Wheels” food truck) expressed interest in the site. “Having a bustling deli crowd located right in the heart of the city is exactly what I wanted,” he told SLM. “There’s a character and grittiness that makes this location perfect for us.”
And so it happened.
After months of intention (first reported by Feast), anticipation, and negotiation, Donley signed a lease just after the first of the year, commenting that “taking the time to structure a proper lease is critical to any restaurant's success.”
Donley plans to be preaching the gospel of hot salami to the downtown masses by April 1.
The layout in the 2000 SF, 40-seat space will be similar to the flagship store on the Hill. “The walk-up deli counter will be the focal point,“ Donley said. “No place downtown has that.” At Gioia’s, part of the allure is the interaction with the person making your sandwich, Donley explained. If the customer is unfamiliar with capicola or the deli’s signature hot salami (Salam de Testa), samples are offered and customers become educated. “That kind of relationship creates loyalty,” Donley said.
The intent is to create the look of a New York-style deli, where the order counter is usually elevated. “So, yeah, you could say we talk down to the customer,” Donley joked,” but we do it in the nicest possible way.”
The downtown menu will be similar to the flagship, right down to the “word of the week” (sent out every Thursday and good for a $1 discount) and the “secret menu” (published on Gioia's website, it’s the most delicious but worst kept secret in town).
There will also be items unique to the downtown location, either retired secret menu items or food truck spinoffs (“sandwiches literally created by customers when we ran out of certain items,” Donley said).
At present, the downtown location is slated to close at 4 p.m., five days a week. “Between dine-in, catering, and some delivery, that may be all we can handle...but we’ll see,” Donley said. “If the business is there, we’ll be there.”
Opening date: slated for early April