Got Sandwich Fever? Go to Ike’s Lair!
A sandwich quite possibly represents the most simple meal ever concocted: two pieces of bread, condiments, cheese, some veggies, and deli meat. Or even simpler: PB & J. But the same sandwich can get boring really fast and finding a tasty sandwich can be difficult. Some sandwich shops put in pounds of cheese or too little of their secret sauce. The product might be priced incorrectly given how little or too much of an ingredient is involved or perhaps the service isn’t up to par. But there is one place in Redwood City that weighs just the right amount ingredients and of secret sauce to make the tastiest and unique sandwiches: Ike’s Lair.
In San Fransisco in 2007, Ike Shehadeh began creating his 200 sandwich menu and earned a huge following that helped sustain him during the landlord’s decision to evict the busy shop. Despite the adversity, Ike’s success grew even bigger and people demanded more of his secret “Dirty Sauce.” More shops opened in the Bay Area and the fan base grew with it. First, a new Ike’s Place in SF, then Ike’s on the Stanford campus, which spawned workalikes – a shop owned by a different owner, but uses the same menu – Ike’s Cold in Redwood Shores, and Ike’s Lair in Redwood City.
Located across from Sequoia High School on Broadway in Redwood City, Ike’s Lair opened its doors during the summer of 2011. Ike’s Lair offers some very unique and different sandwiches in a small space for the huge crowds that come during lunch,. Even the pickiest of eaters (or vegetarians) can find a delicious sandwich.
“I sampled the NDNU Argonaut, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The vegan chicken was cooked with this thin but crisp crust that added a sharpness to each bite,” exclaimed omnivore Calvin Lau, a Burlingame High School junior.
There are over 40 vegan sandwiches with either vegan breaded chicken, turkey or the famous meat-less “meatballs.” There are even more combinations found on the regular menu. Marina Poole, Sequoia High School junior and Ike’s Lair employee, states her favorite sandwich is the Menage-a-Trois (Halal Chicken Breast, Real Honey, Honey Mustard, BBQ Sauce, PepperJack Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Smoked Gouda). “It is unusual. All the ingredients come together really well; it can be sweet, but not. You won’t find it anywhere else.”
Pricing of each sandwich differs on what is included.. Vegan sandwiches range from six to eight dollars, where as a sandwich from the meat side of the menu can range from 7 to 11 dollars. But once you have taken your first bite, you will be coming back for more and not looking twice at the price.
“I honestly don’t remember [the price]! Maybe seven to eight dollars, which is kind of high for a sandwich, but for the quality of Ike’s, it’s worth it,” remarked Lau. Perhaps once you have tried the sandwich named after Woodside High School, you will agree with his statement.
The Woodside Wildcats is vegan breaded chicken toasted on your choice of bread with BBQ sauce, the secret “Dirty Sauce”, soy cheese, and your choice of veggies. It may sound a little weird, but it is basically a large fake-chicken-that-tastes-like-real-chicken burger.
There is also a Sequoia Ravens (Halal Chicken Breast, BBQ Sauce, Cheddar Cheese), Mills Viking (Halal Chicken Breast, Ike’s Red Pesto Sauce, Ranch Sauce, PepperJack Cheese), Carlmont Scots (Vegan Turkey, HomeMade Poppy Seed Coleslaw, French Dressing, Swiss Cheese), and Notre Dame Tigers (Vegan Turkey, Avocado, Havarti Cheese). Served hot on your choice of bread roll with an addition of a free Caramel Apple lollipop with every order.
However, with every popular eatery there is the inevitable wait. Ike’s Lair is a very popular place and many new customers are put off by the snaking line that blocks the front door. An order can take as long as 45 minutes. The staff does try their best to prepare each order with accuracy and speed, but when there is a large lunch rush there really isn’t much they can do. Poole agrees that it does become extremely busy, especially between one o’clock and three o’clock. “Everyone has their own station [during busier times]. Five people are making two to three sandwiches, and we basically work in an assembly line,” explained Poole.
Though the wait can at times be long, the staff try to keep an up-beat and friendly atmosphere at all times. Focusing intently on the order at hand, staff still chit-chat and joke with each other adding to the atmosphere created by the inviting aroma of the baking sandwiches.
Is this enough to make you interested in trying an Ike’s mouthwatering sandwich? If so, go online to the Ike’s Lair menu to look through the available choices before you go. Or call in your order for a shorter wait at 650-365-2200, which can be as little as 15 minutes — just enough time to jump in the car, get downtown and park. Ike’s Lair is open seven days a week with winter hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Leave a comment below with a description of your favorite Ike’s Lair delicacy. Perhaps it will give someone that needed final push to go out and try one of the best sandwiches the Bay Area has to offer.
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