Review: Sauced (1)

Ria Pell gets nostalgic in Inman Park

What does nostalgia taste like? Of course, it’s different for all of us. But nostalgia can be conjured, creating a kind of gastronomic déjà-vu — I’ve been here before, haven’t I? No, I guess not, but it feels eerily familiar.

At Sauced, Ria Pell’s new restaurant and lounge in 11:11 Teahouse’s former Inman Park spot, there’s a lot of nostalgia conjuring going on. Pell has taken the strange, slightly cramped space and managed to turn its drawbacks into assets. The minute you walk in, you’re transported to a kind of ’50s/’60s/’70s flashback, part your grandparent’s wood-paneled den, part swinging bar from some scene you probably didn’t take part in but wish you had. Sauced is masterfully quirky, bolstered by its small scale and Pell’s small touches — the antlers on the walls; the cube cushions on the low black banquettes; the warm but sparse lighting.

On weekends, what looks like the host stand becomes a DJ table where either Pell or a guest spins vintage soul and camp classics. Bartenders pour cocktails with names such as Goodnight Saint Nick, a mixture of rye whiskey, orange-maple syrup and allspice that tastes like Christmas and looks as if it’s a prop in one of those garishly colored Jell-O cookbooks from the ’50s.

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(Photo by James Camp)