Ike’s Place proposes ready-made sandwiches to cater to Stanford students

July 1, 2015, 7:37 p.m.

Ike’s Place, previously located in the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center, will be bringing their “hand-crafted, finger-lickin-good” sandwiches back to the Stanford area later this year. In response to feedback, the sandwich shop plans to introduce ready-made sandwiches to cut wait time and also hopes to bring sandwiches to campus in order to cater to the Stanford population.

The owner, Ike Shehadeh, says that he plans to open the downtown Palo Alto location as quickly as possible.

“I would love to be open before the end of August,” Shehadeh said.

In addition to their regular menu, the Palo Alto Ike’s will introduce grab ‘n go sandwiches  in hopes to cut wait time. Although there will only be a selective offering of the pre-made sandwiches, the condensed menu has proven to successfully increase efficiency in other locations.

“We’ve recently been open in the Oakland Athletics Spring Training Facility and we were serving open 1,000 sandwiches a day there but with a two-minute wait,” Shehadeh said. “You’d only have four choices but you literally waited two minutes.”

Also, since the new location is further and less convenient to dine at, Shehadeh aims to bring sandwiches closer to campus, proposing a system where sandwiches would be pre-made before being sold on campus.

“We’ll have some pre-made sandwiches, say that we made around 10 a.m. or something, that we [will] drive around [between] 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and sell those,” Shehadeh said.

Although the sandwich choices from this system will be limited, ASSU President John-Lancaster Finley ’16 believes sandwiches will be received well, using food trucks as an example to gauge Stanford response to Ike’s proposal.

“Food trucks are used a lot by staff workers and by graduate students as well,” Finley said. “People without meal plans really rely on those more affordable options that come to campus.”

Andrew Aude ’16, who had surveyed students last year during the rebidding of the Huang space where Ike’s used to be, agreed.

“If people know that Ike’s is on campus and they’re pre-made — so they’ll be really fast — and he brings his most popular ones, people will definitely buy them,” Aude said.

According to Finley, student groups may also enjoy Ike’s return since they can cater without having to drive to another city.

“A lot of student groups used [Ike’s] for its catering because you can do catering really easily for getting half sandwiches and that was a really convenient way for student groups to get people to show up,” Finley said. “I know a lot of student groups that still use Ike’s though it was in Redwood City, and so now they can use the one in Palo Alto and it’s just that much easier.”

Shehadeh has thought about opening an Ike’s in Palo Alto for some time but didn’t want to compete with his Stanford location. “My only restaurant job that wasn’t Ike’s was in Palo Alto on Bryant Street,” he said. “It was literally the job I had before Ike’s. So it was a place I’ve spent a lot of time in and it’s been close to my heart.”

Although Shehadeh is “excited to be out in Palo Alto,” he will still miss being on campus and the interactions he had with Stanford students.

“One of the biggest disappointments about Ike’s not being back on campus is that Ike’s was truly a definition space,” Shehadeh said. “I spoke to at least over 500 students over the couple years that I was there. I think it’s such a bummer that they also miss out on that resource. I know for a fact that, regardless if someone else’s food is better or they’re more organized or more professional, they are not going to talk to 500 students. I guess me in particular, I always wanted to do that.”

Ike’s lost its space in the Huang Engineering Center to Forbes Family Cafe in 2014. Shehadeh later placed a bid for a spot in Lathrop library but was turned down.

Ike’s Place will open at the intersection of Waverly Street and Lytton Avenue at 401 Lytton Ave. in Palo Alto. Since the new store does not have to follow regulations like the Stanford location did, it can stay open longer and more often. Although it’ll initially be open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Shehadeh hopes to eventually extend the times.

“There isn’t really a seasonality in downtown Palo Alto,” Shehadeh said. “We wouldn’t close for the holidays, like we would be on campus. Also, we have the flexibility to stay open later. I’m not so sure being open until 3 a.m. in [Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center] would’ve worked, but for sure we can stay open until 3 a.m. in downtown Palo Alto.”

The return of Ike’s Place to the area will attract many different members of the community.

“I think Ike’s coming back to Palo Alto is great,” Finley said. “I think a lot of people in the Palo Alto community miss them. I remember right after Ike’s left Stanford, Stanford football sent out a tweet saying how much they miss the sandwiches. Now that they’re back in Palo Alto, Stanford football has access to them again. It’s great to see—again—that part of the university community.”


Contact Lisa Hao at lisa.hao13 ‘at’ gmail.com.

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