Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (or at least that is what my doctor says). As foodies, we take our breakfast very seriously. On Long Beach Island, The Sandbox Cafe has quickly become the gold standard for the morning meal.
So how do you become a successful breakfast brand on LBI? After all, there is high competition in peak season for breakfast, with many restaurants established for decades. Breaking in to that market is no small task.
Well about 8 seasons ago, Dana and Vinny DiSalvio took on that task and haven’t looked back. They opened the Sandbox Cafe in one of the more unique locations on Long Beach Island. Since the 1960’s there has a been a bath house where The Sandbox calls home. The DiSalvio’s weren’t the first to attempt the very unorthodox “Bath House to Restaurant” transformation either. Places like Donna Mac’s and The Beetlejuice Cafe have occupied the same corner in Ship Bottom.
The key to The Sandbox’s success? Family. Dana, a restaurant biz veteran, enlisted the couple’s two kids Jenna and Nick to help launch the restaurant. As a teenager my priorities were playing volleyball, trying to impress girls and getting my license — probably in that order. These kids were helping to build and operate a restaurant!
The Sandbox has one of the busiest kitchens on the island, serving up to 300 breakfasts from 8-11am. With a high octane kitchen, Dana still keeps quality as a number one priority. Everything served up from The Sandbox is homemade and that includes the recipes. Each recipe from the Sandbox is an original, Dana DiSalvio creation.
What makes The Sandbox so special to me is the lifestyle. It has its own personality. Walking in, you don’t just have breakfast, you have an experience. From the artwork adorning the walls (which include many customer gifts) to the olive and wisteria trees providing a natural shade from the morning sun, The Sandbox looks like something out of a Jimmy Buffett song.
With a short season (Weekend before Memorial Day through Labor Day), The Sandbox owes a lot of their success to having some of the most loyal customers I have ever seen. These foodies keep in touch with the cafe and its owners year round, bring in new customers and spread the word about The Sandbox everywhere they go.
Family. Quality Cooking. Lifestyle. Loyal, Happy Customers.
That seems like a great recipe for success!