Ike’s hoping for seconds in new Castro location

The owner of the popular Ike’s Place sandwich shop wants to expand his business in a spacious spot across the street from the eatery’s old location in the Castro, but a handful of neighbors are already saying no way.

Neighborhood complaints about Ike’s noisy patrons recently forced Ike Shehadeh to temporarily move his quirky sandwich shop from 16th Street near Market Street to a discreet spot in the back of Lime Restaurant a couple of blocks away. But Ike’s Place, known for its anomalous ingredients such as mozzarella sticks and a secret “dirty sauce,’’ has found a potential new home at 3489 16th St. — kitty-corner from the original.

“I live in a building next door to where Ike’s will be and I can’t wait for it to open,’’ said Shehadeh, who started the small business in October 2007.

In order to avoid overcrowding outside the new venue, Shehadeh says he plans to create a zig-zag line in the style of a bank to keep people inside with a 50-person capacity. The new Ike’s also won’t offer any outdoor seating.

While Shehadeh’s attempting to address neighborhood concerns, he’s also proposing to run a much bigger operation. He plans to increase Ike’s staff from less than a dozen employees to as many as 50.

The same neighbors who pushed the sandwich shop out of its last permanent spot have already sent several letters of opposition to the Planning Commission, which will consider Ike’s proposed move at its meeting Thursday. Opponents say they expect that the same old problems — noise, litter and long lines that block the sidewalk — will follow Ike’s to its new storefront.

The space at 3489 16th St. is 3,231 square feet, about 1,000 square feet more than zoning codes allow for nonresidential use in the area. However, planning staff has already recommended the commission authorize the use anyway.

“The size of the use is definitely something addressed as part of our report,’’ said City Planner Sharon La. “We think it’s an appropriate fit.’’

If the Planning Commission gives Shehadeh the go-ahead on Thursday, then the Department of Building inspectors must issue a permit before Ike’s Place can move in. Both decisions can be appealed, potentially delaying the opening.

However, Shehadeh said he plans to open by February and if the neighbors “really don’t want us there, we won’t be there.’’

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsdevelopmentLocalPlanningPlanning CommissionSan Francisco

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