I Like Ike!
I heard there were one or two people in the bay area that still haven’t heard of Ike’s. For those two of you living under that rock, this post is for you.
Ike’s Place started out as the destination sandwich shop in the Castro neighborhood with a cult like following and devoted fan base, me included. Ike Shehadeh opened “Ike’s Place” back in 2007, on a quiet little corner of 16th and Sanchez. The good word got out fast. In no time at all, waiting for an hour to get a sandwich was business as usual. The lines for a sandwich were so long, the crowds were keeping the neighbors from getting into their homes. Ike’s popularity resulted in his neighbors getting him evicted! Fortunately, Ike was able to open in his new location just a stone’s throw from his original place. He has also opened a shop at Stanford University and San Francisco State University. Ike’s Lair (different name, same good food) is also now open in Redwood City, Oakland, and Cupertino.
So just what is it that make Ike’s so special? Well for starters, it’s the sauce. They call it dirty sauce, but there’s nothing dirty about it. It is a tasty garlic sauce that they make themselves from a top secret recipe. The sauce is baked into the bread and every sandwich is served hot. And then there’s the menu! I lost count somewhere past 100 items. In addition to the tasty meaty sandwiches, there are also a generous vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan selections. Deciding what to try can be a challenge with a menu this long. There are great sandwiches with names like “Spiffy Tiffy,” “ Heimerhaus”, “Napoleon Complex”, and the ever popular “Ménage-a-Trois”. Some of the combinations seem odd but they all somehow seem to work! A couple of the combinations are just over the top like the “Kryptonite”. This sandwich consists of roast beef, pastrami, salami, turkey, bacon, ham, mozzarella sticks, stuffed jalapeño poppers, beer battered onion rings, pesto, avocado, and extra pepper jack. I might try a “Kryptonite” one of these days but today I picked up a “Shawn Michaels” to share with my sidekick, Paul. The “Shawn Michaels” is sliced rib-eye steak, mozzarella sticks, and bacon. Every bite was pure satisfaction (why did I offer to share?).
If you are going to Ike’s for the first time I highly recommend checking them out online at www.ikeslair.com or at ilikeikesplace.com since the menu is a little different at each location. There are so many great sandwiches to choose from, you may be overwhelmed. Calling ahead will speed you along if there is a crowd (and there usually is). There are also iphone apps that make ordering a breeze. If you become a fan of Ikes like I have, you will want to sign up on their web site and follow them on twitter to get the heads up on specials and the lowdown on secret menu items. Enjoy the food, and enjoy the fun!