The new Berkeley location of quirky sandwich shop Ike’s Place is hoping to open in about three weeks at 2172 Shattuck Ave., replacing Togo’s Sandwiches.
Ike Shehadeh, owner of the Ike’s Place chain, explained that he chose to open in Berkeley because the city government made it easier for him to get a permit than in other cities. He added that taking over the old location of another sandwich place, which closed several months ago, made the spot even more appealing.
“I’ve been attempting to open up in Berkeley for about four years, so it’s been a while,” Shehadeh said. “I’d like to thank Berkeley for making it easy.”
According to Shehadeh, the Berkeley menu will be slightly different from the menus at Ike’s other locations. He mentioned that he might add a couple of new sandwiches to the menu — such as the Shattuck and the Telegraph, with Golden Bear sauce — and would institute a menu designed for college students that offers sandwiches at lower prices.
“It’ll be the first (college menu) in the Bay Area,” Shehadeh said. “We started it in Chico, and we got a great response. … So we’re going to do it here, and if we get a great response, we’re going to open it at our other college locations as well.”
Some local businesses seemed to welcome the addition to the area, ready for a new source of competition.
Damon Plant, the managing partner of the nearby Sandwich Spot on Shattuck Avenue, explained that although he expected his business to take a little hit as a result of the new rival, he was not that concerned because the two restaurants have different niches. Whereas the Sandwich Spot aims to produce high-quality food at faster rates, according to Plant, Ike’s Place takes longer to produce its upscale sandwiches at higher prices.
Echoing Plant’s sentiments, Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe owner Pedro Robin said he looked forward to a new competitor in the neighborhood.
“I’m glad that he opened another location,” Robin said. “It’s very hard to stay in business. I’m thankful for him to be successful. … I think more competition is better because it helps you keep up with your quality of the food.”
Shehadeh has 20 other locations across the Bay Area, including one in nearby Rockridge. He said that although there is a possibility that he would open another location in Berkeley in the future, nothing is for sure.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Shehadeh said. “It’ll be 100 percent based on how it’s received. … But as of right now I’m not looking — it’ll be solely based on the response we get to the store.”