Hitting the Road: Ike’s Place, San Francisco

On the front page of the Ike’s Place website it is written:

This ain’t your momma’s sandwich shop. Or your dad’s. Or your gramma’s, cousins, dog’s or cat’s, spiritual advisor’s, CEO’s, or hamster’s. We offer hand-crafted, finger-lickin’-good, fresh-baked, so-good-that-every-description-is-hyphenated, delicious sandwiches to the masses, made how you want them, be you meat eater, vegetarian, or veganite.

Hard to describe it any better than that.  There are a TON of sandwich options at San Francisco’s Ike’s Place (located 3506 16th Street between Prosper & Sanchez) that will surely convince you that this place makes some killer grub.

Ike's Place SF

So many delicious items to choose from and some with interesting tastes and names. Got a craving for a Thanksgiving-esque sandwich?  How about the #19, I’m Going Home for Thanksgiving which consists of Turkey, Cranberry Sauce and Havarti.  Maybe you’re in the mood for the #33, Al , which has Salami, Ham, French Dressing, Avocado and Smoked Gouda.  Seriously, I could go on and on.  There are hundreds of named sandwiches and so many options to create your own.  You can visit every week for the rest of your life and come up with something new each time.

Ike's Place Sandwich Order

So what’s the best sandwich you’ve ever had?  How far would you travel for a really good sandwich?  How long would you wait in line for an amazing sandwich?  These are all questions I’d like the GrubGrade readers to answer and share with everyone what exactly makes a great sandwich.  To me, for a sandwich to be truly great requires it to have everything going for it. Amazing must be the way to describe the following:

  1. Bread
  2. Meat
  3. Cheese
  4. Toppings

When you’ve got all 4 going for you, you’re on the right track to becoming someones favorite sandwich.  To me a sandwich is perfect grub. I’m carb crazy and will look for just about anything to put in between a couple slices of bread.  One type of sandwich that I’ve never been a huge fan of has been a classic Meatball Sub, but that’s probably because I’ve never had a truly awesome one.  I mean, a meatball sandwich has ingredients that I like, but nothing has ever stood out to me like the one I had at Ike’s.  On my visit to the Bay Area, I paid a visit to this little sandwich shop and had the best meatball sub I’ve ever had in my life and I can’t remember if I’ve ever had a better sandwich period. This place is a must try if you are ever in San Francisco.

Ike's Place Sandwich

As I mentioned earlier, hundreds of sandwich options are on the Ike’s menu and the one that stood out to me was the #85, Super Mario.  Super Mario is a longtime friend of mine, growing up in the era of the Nintendo Entertainment , so I was drawn to order this sandwich.  I almost went for the #84, Super Luigi that uses stuffed jalapeno peppers instead of mozzarella sticks (if you’d like both the mozzarella sticks and stuffed jalapeno peppers, go for the #87, King Koopa)  The Super Mario sandwich ($8.98) consists of All Beef Meatballs, Mozzarella Sticks and Marinara. Just 3 simple ingredients that truly packed such a satisfying package.  Just to point out how well Ike’s caters to the vegans too, you can get your sandwich with vegan meatballs, Super Wario.

Ike's Place Super Mario

So I’m sure it’s not hard to tell that this was one hell of a satisfying sandwich.  The meatballs were big and delicious, the marinara was thick and tasty and the mozzarella sticks were subtle but did a great job at melting the whole package together.  The real star of this sandwich is the bread and spread. See, the reason why the wait times can sometimes be a little absurd…

So why does it always take ‘forever’ at Ike’s?

Good question! Unlike most sandwich shops where the bread was baked earlier that morning, the bread your sandwich is made on isn’t baked until after you order your sandwich. That means every sandwich is freshly baked to order.

Your choices of bread are French, Wheat, Soudough, and DutchCrunch.  The french bread was amazing, a little toasty and coated with the soon to be patented Dirty Sauce.  All Ike’s Place sandwiches are made with Dirty Sauce, house garlic aioli sauce, made with herbs, spices, garlic, and some of Ike’s own secret ingredients. This spread is coated on the tops of sandwiches and baked with the bread, turning it into Dirty Garlic Bread, and then re-spread on the bottoms.

Ike's Place Meatball Sub

Here’s a tip, call in your order ahead of time. It was so damn busy on this Saturday afternoon that I called in my order at 3pm and the pick-up time was 5pm.  And people still wait there in line for an hour to place their order, I don’t get it.  There was probably 30 people lined up outside as there isn’t anywhere to hang out inside.  A few tables and chairs are scattered about outside but that’s about it.  The long lines might also have to do with the fact that Ike’s was just featured on the Travel Channel’s Man v Food. Ike is a cordial dude too, he was there personally handing out orders and shaking hands and chatting with the patrons.  When he wasn’t doing that, he was carefully watching and instructing the sandwich makers to make sure everything was in order.  I recommend Ike’s highly if you’re in the Bay Area.  If you’re in San Fran for just a visit, Ike’s Place should be right up there with checking out the Golden Gate Bridge…your appetite will thank me.

Check them out:

Ike’s Place

3506 16th Street

San Francisco, CA  94114

(415) 553-6888
Ike's Place on Urbanspoon

16 comments on “Hitting the Road: Ike’s Place, San Francisco

  1. SkippyMom says:

    Bread, to me, is the key component in a sandwich. Homemade and fresh from the oven – yum.

    I do not like meatball subs, but I can definitely see why that one was a winner [My husband loves them] I am more of a roast beef/french dip kind of girl 🙂 On my homemade french bread.

  2. rob says:

    My favorites are the Reuben and the BLT though I like pretty much all of them.

    A few years back right after a hurricane blew through the only hot food I could find is meatball subs at a Subway … those were the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, mostly cause I hadn’t had hot food for a couple of days.

  3. Justin says:

    WOW, 9 dollars for that?

  4. Wow I would so pay the money for bread baked up just for me! I don’t think I have ever had a meatball sub. I looks really good!
    I think the best sandwich I have ever had was at a mom a pop jewish deli in Reisterstown MD. I’d get my favorite the cloken dagger. MMMM Corned beef, coleslaw, russian dressing on rye.

  5. rob says:

    I read about this place before, the sandwiches are supposed to be pretty big so $9 probably isn’t unreasonable, some of them are priced higher.

  6. ChrisSh says:

    Yeah, considering the size and price, it’s not an everyday kind of place, but based on this review I will for sure try it if I’m in the area and if I lived there, it would probably be a once in a month type of thing. And I haven’t looked at the whole menu, but I think my first choice might be the Super Mario as well. Meatballs and mozzarella sticks are two of my favs. mmmm

  7. Adam Bomb says:

    The King Koopa would probably be my first sub there. I wish I lived closer!

  8. brad says:

    MAN that looks/sounds amazing.

  9. John says:

    I want to make that sandwich my wife.

  10. RossS says:

    The thing I love about a Meat Ball sandwich is when they’re done poorly like a Subway, they’re still delicious. And when a place like Ike’s does them right, they’re indescribably good.

  11. Raiders757 says:

    I love meatball subs, and the best ones I ever have, I make right here in my own home. I make meatballs from scratch, so I make them the right size, which is important. If they’re too large. the sub becomes too much of a mess. They have to be just right. I make my own sauce as well. My only drawback, is that I don’t make the bread or the cheese.

    I do have to agree that bread is a key component to a great sandwich, as well as the quality of everything else. Not only that, but the right ratio of meat and veggies to bread. On the issue of lines? No, I will not wait but so long for anything. I don’t care how good it is. Time is one thing in life that you never get back. I don’t care how good something is. I’m not waiting an hour to two for a table, nor will I wait in a line over thirty minutes to get a sandwich. Not if I can get one almost as good in less than ten, and that is always an option in every town. Of course, that’s just me. Now if this place was serving/selling beer to go along with my wait, I might just reconsider.

  12. cd says:

    Yeah, sandwiches are good. But the false hype of fresh baked bread. Yikes. I hear the bread comes from Raymonds in So. SF. and the lettuce is your run of the mill iceberg. I’ve never seen any bread ovens in Ike’s Place just toaster ovens.

  13. Felisha Orielly says:

    Great information 🙂

  14. […] and I had to pay a visit to Franklin Barbecue to get my BBQ fix.  A little bit over an hour wait (I’ve been known to wait in long lines for food) to tackle the Tipsy Texan and a few other delectables.A 2-meat, 2-side combo ($13.00) […]

  15. TJ says:

    Wow I’m glad I stumbled upon this, looks great.. I visit the Bay Area once in a while, I’ll have to go to the city next time just to try this.

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