It was never Sam Shepherd and Annie Grace’s intention to open a sandwich shop. Returning to Australia after living and travelling in Europe, they started working at a tiny cafe near Cronulla train station. After a friend pointed out what a significant contribution the pair had made to the original shop, Grace and Shepherd offered to buy it.
Taking over the sandwich store and changing the name to Loaf Sandwiches allowed the pair to focus on the love of baking they discovered while they were overseas. But the space was tiny; when a bigger shop became available, they couldn’t pass it up. Re-opening in a larger venue allowed room for development, including the addition of a third partner, Kirsty Lissa.
“We make nearly everything in-house, so having a larger space was crucial for us in taking our menu to the next level,” says Lissa.
What isn’t made in-house isn’t far from it. Shepherd’s grandmother supplies some of the baked goods, and the Mr. Woods chai is homebrewed by a staff member’s father. The coffee comes from another Shire institution, White Horse. (Grace and Shepherd’s first job was in the local ice creamery where White Horse’s owner was the boss.)
It’s this focus on local homeliness that anchors the cafe.
“We want to hold onto the idea of what makes you warm inside; the food that reminds you of being a kid,” Grace says.
The menu features sandwiches with a twist. Bread options include Sonoma sourdough, Groundbake gluten-free bread and thick-cut bread from Cronulla Bakehouse. The jaffle trio is a highlight. There’s a ham, cheese and tomato toastie vamped with truffle oil; a three-cheese and jalapeño number; and a jaffle with house-made beans and cheese. The bacon-and-egg roll, with either smoky barbecue sauce or Hands Lane tomato relish, is consistently the most popular thing on the menu. Lissa says the Hambo is an up-and-coming staple; a sandwich stacked with ham, Mersey cheddar, Westmont pickles, red cabbage, pickled carrots, mayo and mustard. But the team at Loaf are also open to substitutions; this local sandwich shop is the kind of place customers can get exactly what they want.
Loaf Sandwiches 89 Cronulla Street, Cronulla 0405 562 348
Hours: Mon to Fri 5.30am–3pm Sat & Sun 7am–3pm loafsandwiches.com