Two weeks ago, the San Francisco-based sandwich shop Ike’s Place arrived in Isla Vista, making it the newest bite in the local food circuit. Located next to the recently departed Shave It on Seville, Ike’s Place has sparked lots of excited chatter along with a few disappointed murmurs. Though a SoCal native and a sandwich novice, I decided to check it out and let the food speak for itself.
Walking into Ike’s, I am struck by the sheer amount of customers. They are everywhere. The vibrant green metal chairs and tables are filled to capacity and the line to order is nearly out the door. It’s around 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, which doesn’t strike me as a particularly popular time to order food, but then again, it is the weekend.
As I wait in line, I look around the room. The bright, freshly painted, mustard-yellow walls are accented with sky blue highlights while the random blue-and-purple pillar near the cash register appears to clash. And yet the quirky color scheme and the faint classic rock playing in the background seems to work. Ike’s has an almost old school ambiance while maintaining its allure as the new kid on the block. It already feels so established. Perhaps this is because it has a semi built-in customer base, but I have to recognize their efforts to assimilate into this new community, a feat that has eluded many of its I.V. predecessors.
After taking time to soak in the colorfully named sandwich items, I decide to order #111, the Menage a Trois, on Dutch Crunch bread. It has halal chicken, BBQ sauce, honey mustard and honey with Swiss, cheddar and pepper jack cheese. To my sheer delight, I realize that my sandwich comes with a caramel apple pop, one of my favorite guilty pleasures.
When my order arrives, I eagerly dig in. The bread is warm and soft with the perfect amount of crunch. As I wade through the layers of this concoction, I come across its delicious meat core. Although there’s a little too much shredded chicken for my liking, the chicken pairs well with the honey mustard and BBQ sauce. This sandwich is rich and creamy while simultaneously sweet and savory. It is also a mess to eat. Not used to the oozing sauces and bits of shredded lettuce that accompany sandwich consumption, I quickly devour my first half and move on to the next. When everything is gone, I sit back in my chair, perfectly satisfied with this meal. It more than hits the spot.
A newcomer to the I.V. food scene, Ike’s Place is already making a name for itself in our local community. Though already a prominent name in the Bay Area, it appears to be becoming an I.V. hotspot. With great food, good vibes and a convenient location, Ike’s Place might just be I.V.’s newest crowd favorite. While its long-term success remains to be seen, Ike’s Place is on the rise. As for me, I can’t wait to go back.