vegan sandwich breakthrough at disco ike’s9
i’ve said it before, and i will say it again: ike’s place makes the best sandwiches, vegan or otherwise. the small san francisco shop is nothing short of legendary (i mean come ON, it has almost THREE THOUSAND yelp reviews) and is loved by herbivores and omnivores alike. when we checked them out in fall of 2010, they were having some major dramz with neighbors and were in the midst of being forced to shut down. fortunately for us though, they’ve found a temporary home at lime nightclub just around the corner in the casto district, and are still serving their famous sandwiches for the time being until they move to a more permanent location. (huge thanks to our BFFs at vegansaurus who keep us updated with ike’s info!) we checked out ike’s new digs on our trip to SF over the holidays, and i am happy to say that they officially served me the best sandwich i’ve eaten, ever.
here’s how it went down…
we arrived at ike’s place on a monday morning to open them up promptly at 10am. naturally, as they have the best sandwiches on the planet, there was ALREADY a line. (at 10am people were LINING UP IN THE COLD for SANDWICHES.) we got our orders in pronto, and while ike’s was having some issues with the cash register, we were instructed by the cashier (who was vegetarian, yay!) to wait for our food in the nightclub area. the old ike’s place was basically a shack with little to no seating, so as strange as it is to eat at a nightclub at 10am, i was STOKED about being able to sit down. with a table and everything!
with the purchase of each sandwich came a bag of “dirty chips”. we opted for the jalapeno heat and sea salted varieties. both were excellent.
glad we had our chips to snack on, because in typical ike’s fashion, the sandwiches took awhile. be prepared: if you go to ike’s, you will probably wait 20-30 minutes for your sandwich. i have heard you can avoid the lines and the waits by calling in. do some research on yelp, because apparently there’s a science to it. whatever you wait, though, in my experience the sandwiches are WELL WORTH IT. we are talking about the best sandwiches in the WORLD, PEOPLE.
finally at around 10:30am, ike’s opened up a new register and brought our sandwiches out. we were a bit in shock when we realized that ike himself was the one who handed us our sandwiches, and we didn’t say anything at the time because we were way too starstruck. i ordered the “vegan sometimes i’m a vegan” (pictured above at the top of the post) and it killed all other sandwiches i have in my memory. even out of all the epic sandwiches i’ve eaten at ike’s, this is by far the best. the description sounds simple: grilled mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, and soy cheese…but the reality is more complex and delicious than words can describe. “grilled mushrooms” means mushrooms cooked freshly in ike’s homemade mayo-style dirty sauce, “marinated artichoke hearts” are artichokes dripping in a magnificent blend of oils and seasonings, and “soy cheese” is the latest incredible teese by chicago soydairy. seriously, one bite of this thing and i almost died. BEST FUCKING SANDWICH EVER.
what made the sandwich even better (if that’s possible) is that for the first time i tried ike’s dutch crunch bread…
the cashier helpfully informed us to steer clear of the wheat bread at ike’s (it contains honey), but everything else is fair game. we asked her what the best bread option is, and she laughingly said, “dutch crunch, of course!” man, she was right. i went back and gave her an extra tip when we were done eating, because i think dutch crunch bread is the best thing to ever happen to a sandwich. crispy bread with oil drizzled on top, then re-baked…that’s what it tasted like.
the husband got an equally impressive sandwich on dutch crunch as well…
he got the “vegan brutus” which came with breaded soy chicken, marinated artichoke heats, and garlic & herb sauce. it was nothing short of scrumptious, but i still preferred my “vegan sometimes i’m a vegan”…maybe it was because of ike’s grilled mushrooms.
i have now sampled 6 different sandwiches from ike’s place, and each one has been earth-shattering. the best yet though, has been the “vegan sometimes i’m a vegan”. i will continue to try new ones, because the hunt for the perfect sandwich is never over.
as far as ike’s new location goes, we are loving them at lime! a few people on yelp have complained, but we dug it. totally strange, but lots of comfy indoor seating…which is a HUGE plus during this san francisco winter. we have affectionately named their new spot “disco ike’s” and we hope they stay there until they get an even better storefront.
ike’s forever!Tags: bay area, san francisco, sandwich, sf
Following your review last year, I’ve become an Ike’s regular…. I seem to go at times when it’s not too busy because I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes for my food.
I love Ikes, I love the staff and I love you for introducing me to the place!
I wish there was a vegan sandwich shop in LA.
^ I wish that too!!!
Why don’t we have this? It would be so fantastic and convenient.
(Not that I should complain too much, we do have tons of other great vegan stuff here in Los Angeles. But still, an all-vegan sandwich shop would be so welcome!)
dutch crunch is the best sandwich bread ever. ike’s is amazing.
Gregalor, just so you know, Ike’s isn’t an entirely vegan shop. Specify vegan if you ever go there bc there are meat versions of all the sandwiches.
Damn that looks good…
ike’s is the fucking shit. last time i went i brought 5 sandwiches back to LA with me. sogood.
I went over the holidays. The sandwiches? Great. The location? Great. The 2 hour wait? I’ll never return again.
They basically “allow” people to cut by giving phone orders priority. Other people dining-in would call and effectively cut in front of us. Had I known this was allowed (and actually encouraged, as we later found out), I would have done the same. But not wanting to cut in front of others, I waited my turn, and it took 2 hours (Not worth it, no matter how good the sandwich is).
Ike’s would be a much better restaurant if they required that phone orders are “to-go” only. Phone orders shouldn’t be used to allow sneaky locals to cut in front of patiently waiting customers. Additionally, they should take your order as you enter the restaurant, so that you can’t be cut in front of as you wait inside to order.
Overall, I liked my sandwich, but I will never go back. It wasn’t just slow because there were a lot of people, it was slow because they didn’t have a fair line.
how funny! i just went to ike’s yesterday, called my phone order in, picked it up and left. i think the sandwiches taste better if you wait in line and order them because the phone orders usually have been out a little bit before your actual pick up time.