By Elena Kadvany
Ike's Place to return to Stanford campusUploaded: Mar 10, 2016
UPDATE (March 16, 2016): The new grab-and-go Ike's Place, or "Ike's Press," will be located at the McMurtry Building temporarily as the first in a series of pop-up vendors that will rotate quarterly. Ike's will operate at the building's Fetter Family Café from April 4 through the end of summer quarter in August 2016, said Shannon Silva, business & program manager for Facilities and Capital Planning in the School of Humanities and Sciences.
"Since this café is a new location and housed in a unique building, we thought it would be the ideal location to try the popular pop-up concept at Stanford," Silva wrote in an email. "This concept will allow us to determine the right fit for the location."
Ike's was chosen to debut the concept out of 20 vendors, Silva said.
The university is also putting together a website to gather feedback on the pop-up concepts. Silva said they "envision it to be an online version of a comment card," and the feedback they receive from it "will contribute to our decision making process in the future."
Stanford University students who formed "Ike's Army" two years ago in protest of the university’s decision to replace an Ike's Place location with a "flexitarian" cafe will be thrilled: The sandwich shop is returning to campus.
Owner Ike Shehadeh told the Mercury News he signed a deal this week for a space at the new McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History at 355 Roth Way, near the Cantor Arts Center. He submitted a response to a university request for proposal (RFP) for the space in late January.
Shehadeh has been trying to open a new sandwich shop on campus or in Palo Alto ever since the contract ran out for his popular location in Stanford's Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center in 2014 (which led to the student protests).
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of eating at Ike's, the shop's M.O. is crazy combinations and ingredients, sauces and lots and lots of options with more than 70 sandwiches on the menu. (Plus, there are those names — many sandwiches are named after Bay Area athletes and celebrities, from Matt Cain to Robin Williams. Others are just fun, like the "Love Triangle," "Going Home for Thanksgiving" and "Pastrami Charmed Life.") The first Ike's opened in San Francisco in 2007, with now almost 20 locations (and growing) throughout the Bay Area and southern California.
As reported here earlier, the new McMurtry Building location won’t be like most Ike's. With only a TurboChef oven that doesn’t allow for the company's usual churning-out of hundreds of high-quality toasted sandwiches every day, this Ike's will instead be a "cold version" with no toasted sandwiches and a limited menu, Shehadeh said in a previous interview. There would be four to five staple sandwiches always available, like the popular "Menage A Trois" (Halal chicken, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, honey, pepper jack, cheddar and Swiss cheese) and the "Matt Cain" (roast beef, salami and turkey with Ike's "Godfather" sauce and provolone cheese), plus five or so that rotate.
But this Ike's will also offer something new: grab-and-go sandwiches. There would be several cold sandwiches for sale, all chosen or designed specifically because they will sell well cold and all made within the last hour, Shehadeh said. You might see, for example, a pastrami, cream cheese and "Jim Harbaugh" sauce sandwich that’s best served cold. The grab-and-go sandwiches will be slightly cheaper than the made-to-order ones, from $7.50 to $9 instead of about $8 to $10.
There will also be coffee, to-go salads, snacks and desserts for sale.
Shehadeh didn't immediately return a request for comment.
Meanwhile, Shehadeh is still waiting to open a full-service outpost in downtown Palo Alto. He landed the lease at 401 Lytton Ave., the former home of John’s Cafe, last June, but has said he’s been held up waiting for various city approvals.