Eight+Sand, a bakery, restaurant, cafe and bar from the owners of Inizio Pizza and Not Just Coffee, soft opens today at 7 a.m.
It’s located at 135 New Bern Street on the ground floor of the new Bradham apartments right on the light rail.
“Eight and sands,” a bygone saying from historic railroad days, is a nod to Charlotte’s light rail. Eight refers to the speed of the train in its eighth gear, and sand was thrown on the tracks to create safe friction.
“Train crews would use the term as a well wishes of sorts for a safe and speedy journey,” said Arons.
The 3,500-square-foot space with 20-foot ceilings and large roll-up garage doors seats 78 inside and another 60 outside on the patio.
The design has a Scandinavian-style modern minimalist aesthetic and features local Rosewood Co. custom tables and stoneware from The Little Studio. Rachel Martin Design desiged subtle custom produce graphics on feature walls and in the bathroom.
Customer flow is set up so you order at the register, take a number and then find a seat. It’s not quite full-service or true fast-casual but falls somewhere in between — they’ll have servers tending to drinks and bussing tables.
The cafe and bar will deliver the same quality you’ve come to know at Not Just Coffee without being an exact replica.
Yoder says they’ll still be working with Counter Culture coffee but are using different blends at Eight+Sand. They’ve got a signature oat milk latte and nitro cold brew on draft and all syrups are made in house.
Vivien Ross is leading the bar with a menu of light, effervescent cocktails (including sangria and Negroni on tap), five beers on tap and a selection of carefully curated spirits and wine.
The Canyon Road ($12) — Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, aperol, orange curacao, mole bitters, lime juice and flamed orange — has been a runaway hit with friends and family.
The foundation of the food menu is built on housemade breads prepared with locally sourced organic flour, natural leaven and heritage grains milled in house.
Executive chef Peter Falcon came over from Inizio. Almost everything in the kitchen (from the jams to the breads) is made from scratch, and anything that isn’t is sourced locally.
Breakfast is served until 2 p.m. and includes breakfast sandwiches and thick-cut, meal-sized toasts topped with avocado, ricotta + jam and peanut butter.
Sandwiches are the main attraction for lunch and dinner. Favorites include:
- Porchetta ($11.95) – The sandwich that started it all is made with slow-cooked Italian pork roast, crackling and salsa verde on ciabatta
- Pastrami ($11.95) – This team favorite features housemade pastrami, Gulden’s mustard, swiss and fresh slaw on griddle toasted deli rye.
- Panko chicken ($10.95) – The runaway hit from friends & family night is made with fried panko-breaded NC free range chicken, red cabbage slaw, pickled onions, honey, Duke’s mayo and pickle on a toasted brioche roll.
There are also several specialty vegan options thanks to chef Collin Cook’s innovative menu development, including:
- Vegan banh mi ($11.55) – Housemade seitan in hoisin glaze, pickled daikon + carrot, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro and vegan sambal aioli on a banh mi roll. I ate this and will never be the same again.
- Vegan Philly ($11.85) – Housemade savory marinated seitan, scratch made velvety cheese spread and sautéed onions + peppers on a banh mi roll
- Vegan breakfast brioche roll ($7.85) – Savory mushroom sausage, tofu scramble and vegan mayo smear on a vegan brioche bun
Here’s the full Eight+Sand menu:
Hours are Monday 7 a.m. 4 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 7 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. – 10:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Look for Arons to add Roman-style pizza to the menu after the initial opening rush slows down. The square pan pizza is served by the slice.
Fresh bread is available by the loaf along with pastries, doughnuts and other treats.
Daily bread offerings include: seeded, country loaf, ciabattini, rye and Wonder loaf.
Christa Smith heads the bakery operation with a lineup of signature cruffins, brioche doughnuts and twice baked croissants.
The cruffins — laminated croissant-style dough baked in the shape of a muffin — come in six flavors. Cookies & Creme, made with homemade Oreos prepared with black onyx chocolate, is Smith’s favorite. Dulce de leche was popular at friends & family night.
It takes three days to prep the dough used for the signature brioche doughnuts which are stuffed with vanilla custard, chocolate mousse, lemon curd, apple butter or strawberry jam.
Arons has been dreaming up the concept for Eight+Sand since before he opened his first Inizio location in 2016.
He’s traveled all over the world — from Boulted Bread in Raleigh and Tartine in San Francisco all the way to Il Norcino in Rome — to hone his craft with the best of the best. It was there at Il Norcino he learned the art of the perfect porchetta from famed butcher Vitaliano Bernabei. That, he says, was “the sandwich that started it all.”
Arons got to know the Yoders working next door at their respective Dilworth locations and learned that their overlapping passions made sense for a joint venture.
“We discovered a shared love for worldly foods, sustainable ingredients, coffee, bread and more,” he said. “We have baker expertise, cafe expertise, multiple chefs and a whole lot of passion.”
Finally Eight+Sand, the product of years of training, opens today.
Especially in the busy opening weeks, expect a wait outside. Arons stressed they won’t service more than they can handle to ensure everyone enjoys a quality experience. They’re already prepared to accommodate a line with free coffee and courtesy umbrellas in case of inclement weather.