It took three and a half years, but Ike's Place is finally open in downtown Palo Alto.
The newest outpost of the Bay Area cult-favorite sandwich shop opened Tuesday morning at 401 Lytton Ave. Owner Ike Shehadeh took over the lease there in 2015 after John’s Cafe closed.
The newly opened Ike's Place on Lytton Avenue. Photo courtesy Ike Shehadeh.
He declined to comment on why the location was delayed, but said "we could have been open on July 3, 2015, as far as the space." He said in 2016 that because Ike's would have less seating than John's Cafe did, and although it will continue to sell sandwiches and coffee like John's did, it was considered a use change, which caused delays.
The Lytton Avenue location is serving the same massive Ike’s menu, plus three new sandwiches that are only available in Palo Alto. There's the Jim Harbaugh (the shop was set to open when he was still the 49ers' coach) with chicken, pepper jack cheese and a sweet chili glaze; the Mayfield with salmon, avocado and sweet chili glaze; and Kermit the Frog, a vegetarian sandwich with cucumber, avocado, cream cheese and sweet chili glaze.
Ike's bread is baked fresh to order and all sandwiches are slathered in a signature "Dirty Secret Sauce."
The "Paul Reubens" and "Lincecum" sandwiches, pictured on the Ike's Place Instagram.
Ike's Place was born in San Francisco in 2007. Shehadeh now runs more than 40 locations throughout California. He ran a popular outpost at Stanford University from 2009 to 2014, when he lost a bid to renew the contract, sparking student protests. In 2016, he opened an "express" grab-and-go cafe, Ike's Press, in Stanford's McMurtry Building.
Shehadeh opened the new Palo Alto Ike's while still in the hiring process, so he, his brother, step-brother and a friend will be there making sandwiches for the foreseeable future. Ike's on Lytton will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily until fully staffed, Shehadeh said. He hopes to be eventually stay open as late as 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
"The good news is, I'm literally working the store," Shehadeh said. "If people want to meet me I will be here almost every single day until the staff situation gets situated."