Local hot sauce makers bringing the heat (and flavor)

Battle Ground resident Dave Silagy and son Mitchell look to expand their line of craft hot sauces

Mitchell and Dave Silagy

Years ago, while serving abroad, Battle Ground resident Dave Silagy developed a love for hot sauce. And not just any hot sauce – we’re talking about unforgettable, bold and fresh flavors.

Since that time, Silagy’s passion for peppers hasn’t cooled. Now, after countless experiments in the kitchen, he’s ready to get the word out about his own ready-to-buy brand of hot sauce called Silagy Sauce.

“When this started I just wanted to make some hot sauce that had heat and flavor, so we (Silagy and his son, Mitchell) just started messing around with it,” he explained. “We’ve been trying different combinations of peppers and spices and just kept testing it on our friends.”

Hot sauce bottlesConstant requests from friends to bottle Silagy Sauce led to the notion that they could have a successful business endeavor on their hands, so the Silagys arranged to use the commercial-grade kitchen at The Cedars on Salmon Creek golf course in Brush Prairie.

“They (The Cedars) have a huge kitchen,” said Silagy, “and they’re not open all of the time, so it works out perfectly.”

The Silagys now use the golf course’s commercial kitchen to prepare and package two flagship flavors: Smokin Habanero, a red sauce, and Cilantro Lime Serrano, a tangy green sauce. Both sauces are made with fresh ingredients and contain no concentrates or preservatives.

“And we have more flavors that we’re working on now,” added Silagy. “We’re trying to come out with a Thai pepper-type hot sauce, but we just haven’t been able to balance it yet. It’ll be hot.”

Since receiving the go-ahead from the FDA to sell their sauces about three weeks ago, the Silagys have already sold an estimated 600 bottles. They are currently available at Battle Ground Produce, Amboy Market, and restaurants such as Mill Creek Pub and Northwood Public House and Brewery.

The next order of business, Silagy said, is getting his sauce into more stores and restaurants in and around Clark County. He recently submitted the necessary paperwork to sell his products at Chuck’s Produce, and plans to do the same thing at New Season’s Market.

The Silagys are also targeting online sales, which should be up and running on their website, www.silagysauce.com, within the month. Area farmers markets are on the agenda as well.

“We’re trying to stay local,” noted Silagy. “We signed up for the Salmon Creek Farmer’s Market. We also tried to sign up for the downtown Vancouver market, but it’s full. There are a couple other ones that we’re signing up for too.”

Though the promise of rapid growth is exciting, Silagy said it has to be smart growth, and he isn’t ready to hand off the recipe to a manufacturer that might cut corners to save money.

“We want something that we want to eat, something that we use,” he said.

And another reason Silagy isn’t about to hand off the work – he’s having too much fun doing it.

“I’ve done a lot of things in my life and I would say this is probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done,” he laughed. “When you make stuff like this you think, ‘my friends are just telling me it’s good because they’re my friends.’ Now I’ll be sitting in a restaurant and someone will come by and go, ‘you’re the hot sauce guy! I love your sauce!’ I’m famous – how about that?”

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