Saucy Focaccia

Many times I’ve been tempted to try Saucy Focaccia at NewBo City Market. But every time the pull of a gyro from Zaytoon’s has been stronger. Recently I learned that there was a second Saucy Focaccia restaurant on the Northeast side in a retail development called The Fountains. Taking the family there I didn’t have the distraction of Lebanese food to pull me away.

The restaurant is bright and airy. Not being a regular at NewBo we had to study the menu a little bit. You can build your own burger or order one of their gourmet combinations. They also have a variety of sandwiches. Saucy is a perennial winner of Best Burger in Cedar Rapids and Best Sandwich. So you can’t go wrong either way. The wife chose to build a burger, with house cut fries. The kiddo of course went with chicken tenders with a side of tater tots. And a chocolate shake. I was really tempted to order the Chicken Cordon Blue sandwich but decided I should have a burger for my first time. I went with the Baby Bella special. I got jalapeno poppers instead of fries because I’m just not a fan of fresh cut fries.

Saucy has the fast-casual model meaning you order at the register, take a seat at a table and they bring the food out to you. So no servers to wait on you. They do bus the tables though. I don’t think we spent any more on dinner than if we had gone to Hardees or Culvers. We didn’t partake but Saucy Focaccia also sells beer by the bottle. Our food came out astonishingly fast. Almost too fast for the mood I was in. It would definitely have been great for lunch but I was in the mood for a leisurely dinner.

As one might infer from the name, Saucy Focaccia’s shtick is burgers served with a cheese sauce on buns made of focaccia bread. The wife’s had a cheddar sauce. She claimed her sandwich to be good. My burger had a slice of Swiss cheese and a jalapeno garlic aioli. I love a mushroom Swiss burger and this one was fantastic. I craved a second one as soon as I was finished. My poppers were the standard green ones with cream cheese. However the raspberry jelly was a nice accompaniment, far better than ranch dressing.

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Chicken Tenders and Tots
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Cheddar Cheese Burger and House Cut Fries
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Baby Bella Burger and Jalapeno Poppers

I may not be able to resist the pull of Lebanese food at NewBo but would not hesitate to return to The Fountains location and try one of Saucy Focaccia’s many other burger combinations or even a try one of their highly rated sandwiches.

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Jerseys Downtown

After a long Sunday driving around the area looking at houses we decided that none of us wanted to get back into the car to go out to dinner. And it was late. Jerseys was a one block walk from out hotel so we set out with that as our destination.

Another sports bar. I can’t say the place was warm and inviting. It felt like a dive without looking like a dive. It may have just been an aura from being mostly empty late on a Sunday night. It may have been family members with a negative attitude. I don’t know.

The menu was much more appealing than what I had been eating for the past eight years but at the same time nothing quite moved me. Again, probably just a vibe in the air.

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House made Mozzarella Sticks and Cheddar Balls

Being starved we ordered two appetizers, Cheddar Balls and Mozzarella Sticks. I guess we were feeling cheese deficient. The cheddar balls were fantastic. They tasted just like deep fried cheese curds and for all I know that’s exactly what Sysco sells them as. I think part of what made them so good yet different than a cheese curd was their generous size. Back home, we have one mediocre restaurant that sells the absolute best cheese sticks. They are tempura battered in-house and dusted with Parmesan cheese. The homemade cheese sticks at Jerseys were equally as good, breaded instead of battered. Nice big planks, soft stretchy cheese. I’d order them every time I eat here in the future.

I don’t remember what the rest of my family ordered. I ordered the pork tenderloin sandwich, AKA IBT. Being of strong Hoosier stock, I know the IBT as Indiana Breaded Tenderloin. Of course in Cedar Rapids, the “I” is for Iowa not Indiana. Same sandwich, I don’t know who has more authentic claim. My sandwich was a little thicker than I was used to, but the menu description said it would be so it didn’t come as a surprise. It was fried to a rich chestnut brown. I found it to be a little dry. I don’t know if I committed blasphemy or not, but I asked for some mayo and that made the sandwich go down much easier. It was served with a side of fresh cut fries. Ordinarily I don’t like fresh cut fries. I find then usually too bland, too floppy, too greasy, too undercooked. These were amazingly good. I hope they are just as good next time.

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Indiana Iowa Breaded Tenderloin sandwich with fresh cut fries