TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Clearwater restaurant owners have launched their own line of specialty hot sauces featuring a taste of Washington, D.C.
“Saucy Rebellion” came from the minds of Keith Mundy and his wife, Julie Holladay, prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mundy, originally from Washington, D.C., moved to Florida after retiring from a career in finance.
The couple opened 1933 Pub & Grill in Clearwater, but Mundy realized something was missing from his restaurant: Mambo sauce. He grew up around a family of local chefs, as well as the regional specialty sauce.
Mambo sauce, a staple in D.C., is somewhat like barbeque sauce, but spicier, with a hint of sweetness. The couple said it was nearly impossible to find outside of the nation’s capital.
So they decided to make their own. After long nights of perfecting their own mambo sauce, it was on their menu for all in the Tampa Bay area to try.
Holladay told WFLA.com that they see the occasional D.C. native at their restaurant, surprised to see the sauce on their menu. She said it’s so regional, those natives are excited to see it.
“Also exciting for us is the audience in Keith’s home state that we have garnered. It’s a staple for them, and they are quite the mambo connoisseurs,” she said.
The couple decided to bottle their mambo sauce in 2019 as customers began asking for it, right before the restaurant industry all but came screeching to a halt.
“We picked up two of our products literally the day after COVID closed the restaurant,” said Holladay. “Needless to say, our lives changed and our focus went to surviving the pandemic. We sold our mambo sauce and candied jalapenos solely through the restaurant.”
In Sept. 2021, Mundy and Holladay, after their pandemic hiatus, restarted their project, and Saucy Rebellion was born, along with the tagline, “Fight to Feast Well.”
In addition to the mambo sauce, the couple created a candied jalapeno sauce by accident during their trials, which they deemed delicious enough to also bottle after some recipe tinkering.
Holladay and Mundy want the Tampa Bay area and beyond to know that their sauce, though a staple in D.C., is unique.
“We’re different. There is truly nothing like us out there. As a restaurant owner, we see hundreds of options in sauces all the time,” said Holladay. “We were flattered by the demand in our restaurant, and one day Keith and I took a long hard look and realized, there is nothing like our mambo sauce on the market.”
“We’re just excited for people around the country to finally try this stuff,” said Mundy. “I can promise you this – there is nothing like our sauces out there. Just give it a try and you’ll fall in love with the sweet heat.”
The company officially launched its website for sauces last week, but bottles were previously available on Amazon and Facebook. Holladay said they have shipped orders to six specialty stores from Ft. Lauderdale to Washington state.
“We are officially coast to coast,” she said.
Saucy Rebellion is available at gourmet specialty stores, as well as directly through their website. Single sauces begin at $7.99 and the full lineup is $32.99.