New York natives and business partners Jeremiah Ramos and Courtney Osgood are the inspiration behind Wilmington’s newest riverfront establishment. Located at 224 S. Water St., Sauce’d serves up signature cocktails and a variety of fries and homemade sauces.
After spending two years helping other business owners bring their dreams to life, concept creators Ramos and Osgood thought it was time to focus on their own. Ramos had always wanted to open his own culinary establishment and knew marketing guru Osgood was the best person to take along for the ride.
“The last couple years we’ve teamed up, in Raleigh specifically, helping business owners and bar owners open their spaces brand new or revamp their existing programs that needed some pizzaz or extra support,” Osgood said. “I love watching business owners’ dreams come to life and supporting them. It’s been special.”
Osgood’s and Ramos’ skill sets complement each other well, with Ramos as the operational and creative mind and Osgood leading the marketing directive. The pair hopes to bring that same consumer-focused attitude, along with experience, to their own venture. The idea behind Sauce’d is a vibe Osgood describes as Miami art deco-meets-New York City rooftop bar.
“Sauce’d is sort of our baby in a sense; it’s a culmination of what we both love,” said Osgood. “What you’ll find aesthetically is something you’re not going to find around Wilmington currently.”
The space features bright whimsical colors and an airy, tropical vibe with its riverfront location. The centrality of Wilmington pays homage to the middle ground between the owners’ Northern roots and Ramos’ Florida-based childhood.
The cocktail-and-fries concept combines two well-loved staples into a creative business model. Sauce’d opened featuring 20 signature drinks and several cocktail classics.
“Our cocktails are reflective of some fun, different flavor combinations and profiles,” Osgood said. “And then we’ll be highlighting classic cocktails you often forget about if not on the menu.”
Supporting local businesses is at the core of Ramos’ and Osgood’s personal and professional lives, so signature cocktails will all include North Carolina-based distillers.
“We love highlighting local; it’s our lifeblood,” Osgood said. “We have so many amazing, amazing small-batch distillers out there. We want to put the focus on that.”
The local brew selection will be abundant, and unique wines will round out the menu.
“We’re offering some wines you don’t often find in the area,” Osgood said.
While Sauce’d is cocktail-focused first, it will also have limited food offerings. Being a lifelong lover of fries, especially while enjoying a cocktail or two, Osgood loves the simplicity of their current food concept: four different types of fries (original, waffle, sweet potato and yucca) and 12 different homemade sauce options.
“Who doesn’t love fries?” asked Osgood. “We decided to keep it simple and execute that one thing really well.”
The bar’s downtown location is well-known for its previous tenant: Le Catalan, a French restaurant that welcomed customers for nearly 20 years.
“We feel very fortunate to be taking over such an important space,” she said. “Le Catalan was well known to the area. People loved it. We’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
As a result, Osgood knew a complete transformation of the space was needed to a unique – and hopefully acclaimed – reputation for Sauce’d.
“Our perspective is, when you have something going into an iconic space, you really want to change it up and make it your own,” she said. “Otherwise, as a consumer, you’re always comparing it to the previous space. We really wanted to make it our own; give nod and thanks to Le Catalan for the amazing spot and then create our name. We hope our space is just as iconic.”
When Osgood and Ramos took over the building Sept. 1, they spent the next few months focused on cultivating their own vibe and essence.
The brightly decorated interior, reminiscent of ’80s neon and classy city-style, can seat about 46 customers at a time and the outdoor patio can seat up to 72. One side of the patio is set up with lounge patio furniture and intimate seating, while the other has a traditional table-andchair layout. If needed, the outdoor awning can open to cover roughly 360 square feet of the patio.
With its multiple layout options, Sauce’d welcomes private events of all sizes.
Sauce’d is currently open 5 p.m. to midnight Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays – at least for now.
“Wilmington has an off-season; we’re in it now, so we’re going to open with limited hours and days now and come spring, we envision our real new grand opening, with more to come,” Osgood said. “We’ll add a small brunch menu and be open during the days.”
Osgood hopes Sauce’d will become synonymous with quality cocktails, an awe-inspiring ambience and unique offerings.
“It’s a very, very different vibe,” she said, “and I think people are going to love it.”