Let’s see if two restaurant heads are better than one. Starting Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., you can see what pizza maker Grant Arons of Inizio and coffee king James Yoder of Not Just Coffee have cooked up for South End.
Eight + Sand Kitchen, conveniently located right next to the New Bern light-rail station, opens as a breakfast/bakery/coffee/lunch/cocktail project. Breads and pastries come from Arons, while the full coffee bar and Italian-ish cocktails come from Yoder.
It makes sense, in a weird sort of way: On his way to becoming a pizza obsessive, Arons developed an addiction for porchetta sandwiches, made from the Italian roast pork with the impossibly crispy skin. That led him to an obsession with bread to make sandwiches. And when Arons gets caught up in a food love, it takes over his life.
Meanwhile, Yoder, known for his coffee bars around Charlotte, opened a coffee house next to the Dilworth location of Inizio on Park Road and added cocktail service. As food neighbors, they got to talking about Yoder’s time in Italy and Arons’ Italian food obsessions. That led to the idea for Eight + Sand. (The name, an obscure railroading term that sort of means “good travels,” is aimed at drawing attention to their light-rail location.)
Here’s 5 of the best reasons to break your morning commute with a stop:
(1) The bread.
Arons is milling some of his own grains, sourced from around the country, and supplementing it with flour from Lindley Mills in Graham, N.C. It’s used for the breakfast toast lineup and the sandwiches, and you can buy it by the loaf.
Charlotte is short on great loaves at the moment, so the carb-friendly should rejoice. (Loaf prices range from $7 to $12, and some really big loaves will be available by half loaf.)
(2) The meats.
Yes, there’s porchetta and house-cured pastrami, and a few other fun things, like cornmeal-crusted trout. Prices there: $10 to $12.
(3) The not-meats.
There’s a vegan sandwich list, including jackfruit and a seitan Philly. And there are salads, if we really can’t interest you in bread.
(4) The pastries, people.
Croissants (including twice-baked Nutella) and house doughnuts in multiple flavors. More interesting: Cruffins, a cross between a croissant and a muffin.
(5) Coffee in the morning, cocktails in the evening.
That’s what we call a light-rail commuter two-fer: They’ll get you coming and going.
Hours: 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. on Sundays. If you aren’t jumping off the train, you can get there anyway: It’s 135 New Bern St., one block off South Boulevard (on the other side of Link & Pin).
135 New Bern St.