Bob’s Rocket Pizza on 42nd Ave. in the Concordia neighborhood has launched its last pie and Shardell Dues is sprucing up the space to open a new pizza restaurant. Red Sauce is slated to open Friday, October 23. Former Rocket owners Juliet Hyams and Jim Ambrose still own the building – and are exploring options to finish the space above and behind the restaurant.
“It was a labor of love for us, but it was time to let it go” said Hyams. “I’ll really miss seeing the customers, but I hope to cross paths with them in other ways. I feel very invested in the district and I want to continue to be involved as a property owner. There’s so much potential here.”
Hyams and Ambrose purchased the restaurant from Bob Cassidy – the original Bob in Bob’s Rocket Pizza. One of Cassidy’s unique marketing ploys was to hang a huge illuminated PIZZA sign at the front of the shop upside down. Dues found the sign in the back of the store and has cleaned it up and returned it to its original position.
“I asked him Mr. Cassidy why he hung it upside down – and he said it was great advertising because everyone would always tell him his sign was upside down and Bob would say, ‘You don’t say!’” said Dues. “I thought this was wonderful. I asked him if we could use it – and hang it up as it originally was – and he said he would be honored. He now calls me once a week to check in.”
“We will be opening the same side of the restaurant that Bob’s was in,” said Dues. “We will have table service and we’ll have beer and wine. As soon as the back is good to go, we are going to open the side dining room, which should have about 7-8 tables. We also hope to have a front and back patio by summer time. We might do a third party delivery after we get our groove, but we want to start simple, small, and consistent.”
Dues plans are to serve a great pie and put her customers first.
“Our menu is pretty simple,” said Dues. “We are doing a house chorizo and we will make our own bacon pie and add some eggs and greens. We’ll be doing a clam pie once a week. We’ll also be doing a brisket pie with pickled onions, jalapenos and BBQ sauce. Of course we will also be doing the ‘Shar Special.’ Lots of pepperoni, fresh pineapple and jalapenos. I will be getting plenty of awesome local veggies from The Side Yard Farm and from the Cully Farmers Market.”
“We want our customer service to be as awesome as our pizza,” she added. “We want our customers to feel really welcome and be taken care of. I was taught that at New Seasons. People really do appreciate it when you when you go out of your way for them. That’s why I’m in the business that I am.”
Bunk Sandwich’s Tommy Habetz is also opening a pizza restaurant, almost immediately across the street, in the former Magoo’s space in the Cully neighborhood. There has been a race, of sorts, to see which pie joint will be the first to open its doors. While Dues appears to have the early lead, she’s had plenty of help.
“We cleaned and painted from top to bottom and rearranged the feel of the space,” said Dues. “My mom, Elaine Henker, has been there every day. She did all the furniture for the restaurant – which is basically broken chairs and tables we found on the side of the road, or cheap at yard sales. She’s fixed them up and painted them.”
“My partner, Patri Thompson, is the inside painter and Chris Fernandez is my outside painter. My logo was designed by Kimmie Moral, who owns the awesome Parcel PDX, and Michael DeMarco of the 42nd Avenue association is really the main reason that I am where I am.”
Dues has worked at the New Seasons Concordia store for the past couple years, and fell in love with the area.
“I loved all the awesome customers and I thought that what this area really needs is a good neighborhood pizza spot,” said Dues. “My first job was at Vancouver Pizza Company in downtown Vancouver. I went on to work at several pizzerias, one of them being Apizza Scholls, where I was the kitchen manager for four years. I just love pizza. It’s perfect. Always. It was my first job, and I hope it will be my last.”
“I am very grateful to each and every one of my friends and family who have volunteered their time scraping walls, filling holes, painting, and sanding. They stepped up big time and they have a lot of pizza coming their way. I love, love, love my Cully neighborhood and I am really excited to be on 42nd Avenue.”