By Elena Kadvany
Stanford campus Ike's Place to close June 15Uploaded: Apr 28, 2014
The fate of sandwich-cult-favorite Ike's Place at Stanford University has been decided: its last day of operations in the Huang Engineering Center will be June 15 (commencement Sunday).
It will be replaced with a food outlet, concept to be determined, operated by the university's Residential and Dining Services (R&DE), Jamie Beckett, director of communications for the Stanford School of Engineering, said Friday.
"Although the exact format hasn't been determined, R&DE will offer a variety of menu options inspired by fresh and locally grown products," Beckett said. "Student focus groups will work with the new vendor to tighten the concept and select a name for this new café."
Ike's service contract is set to expire in June, meaning the space went up for bid earlier this year. Owner Ike Shehadeh said in January he planned to put in a bid to reclaim the space, and rumor had it other popular on- and off-campus eateries like Coupa Café threw their hat in the ring as well.
An online petition to keep Ike's on campus circulated for the past few months and successfully passed its goal of 1,000 signatures. But a committee of students and staff from all four buildings in the Science and Engineering Quad unanimously chose R&DE, Beckett said.
"Selection was based on several criteria, including the ability to meet the needs of Science and Engineering Quad (SEQ) users," she said. "Other deciding factors included sustainability and commitment to green practices, as well as reputation and staff pay, benefits and turnover."
The Stanford Daily reported that a group of students protested the decision on Saturday afternoon. It also published a student op-ed this wee that criticizes the committee's decision and urges R&DE to forfeit its new lease.
Beckett said SEQ surveyed more than 900 students to help make the decision, with 83 percent rating quality of food as their top priority, followed by price/value for money (77 percent with 62 percent preferring prices between $5 and $7.50), ease/convenience (77 percent), healthy options (36 percent) and variety/rotating choices/seasonal food (21 percent).
Beckett said survey respondents also indicated they prefer wait times of less than 10 minutes.
R&DE operates a number of other campus eateries, including Russo Café at the law school, Med Café at Li Ka Shing and the café at the Arrillaga Alumni Center.
The new eatery will open on Sept 2.
Ike's owner Shehadeh said he has no new location to transfer to, on or off campus, but has looked preliminarily in the area.