The wildly successful sandwich shop Ike’s Love and Sandwiches is now open in Peoria.
With the edition of the Peoria location, Ike’s now has seven locations in the Valley, with another three on the way.
Owner Ike Shehadeh has been visiting Arizona on a monthly basis over the last eight years. He said he always loves coming out here.
“We’ve been having great success in Arizona bringing this totally new kind of sandwich style there,” he says. “I feel like the whole ambiance, the love aspect, the inclusive-of-everybody aspect as far as food goes is so unique here.
“(It has) brought out a lot of love and fandom towards Ike’s. For me, I want to keep bringing love and sandwiches where that’s appreciated.”
Getting its start in San Francisco in 2007, Ike’s features an expansive menu, including numerous vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free options. Shehadeh says his restaurant uses the canvas of the sandwich to make a place where everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions, can eat.
“This is about creativity, about love and about making sure everybody can feel included,” he says.
Having opened its doors on June 27, Shehadeh says the response has been very positive at the new Peoria location, and it is getting a good mix of regular customers and first-timers.
“We’re finding the people that are coming in are a big mixture of people that have already been into a different location and some new people,” he says. “We love that we’re touching new people, and we also love that we’re making it so that other people are able to eat there more frequently.”
As far as the impetus behind putting a location in Peoria goes, Shehadeh felt there was a void in the market for what his restaurant provides. So, he looked to fill it.
“I thought it’s an underserved place that we could go fill up more because there’s not really anything close to Ike’s there,” he says.
For Shehadeh, there are three main pillars that separate his stores from any sort of competition: the creativity of his sandwiches, the environment of his restaurant and the culture of his business.
“It comes from the fact that we want to make a kick-ass sandwich no matter what your dietary want or need is, where we create such a culture that it has made other people want to be a part of it,” Shehadeh says.
In an effort to constantly provide a different look, Shehadeh has fashioned each of his restaurants to have a different exclusive menu option. The Peoria location has two location-exclusive sandwiches, one with meat and one vegetarian option, dubbed “Change of Pace” and “Newtonards,” respectively.
Change of Pace is made with fried chicken, bacon, Ike’s Peoria BBQ Sauce and Swiss cheese. Newtonards is a vegetarian version of the Change of Pace, with vegan fried chicken, purple slaw, Ike’s Peoria BBQ Sauce and American cheese.
With the expansive menu, Shehadeh is always hyper focused on providing a food option for everyone.
He says getting to display his personality in his food and show love to everyone is his favorite part about owning Ike’s Love and Sandwiches.
“My favorite part is I get to be me,” Shehadeh says. “Everybody wants to be loved and accepted for exactly who they are without any exceptions.”
For those who may be on the fence in giving Ike’s a try, Shehadeh says to just give his food a shot. He says anyone who comes in is certain to be “wowed.”
“If you’re going to eat a sandwich, you can’t make these kinds of sandwiches at your house,” Shehadeh says. “So, if you are going to eat a sandwich out, you should eat it at Ike’s.”
For all of the success his restaurants have seen in Arizona to this point, Shehadeh is incredibly grateful. He is looking forward to keeping the ball rolling with the Peoria location.
“I just love visiting Arizona, and I love interacting with the fans there … like just people wanting to take pictures or wanting to eat the food and telling me about the love of it,” Shehadeh says. “I appreciate it so much. I’m so very grateful.”
Ike’s Love and Sandwiches
7635 W. Bell Road, Unit 2020A, Peoria