San Francisco's Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal by owner Ike Shehadeh to start selling his massive sandwiches that fans from near and far come to buy.
Ike had become a victim of his own success with his shop on 16th Street. Neighbors complained of long lines of customers, noise and trash. The complaints led the owner to kick him out. Ike's has set up a temporary shop, sharing a space with another restaurant, but is only doing about one-third of the business.
Now he's found what he hopes will be his flagship shop. He's poised to move into an existing space now used by a chocolate store. Saratoga Chocolates say the 3,000 plus square-foot space is too large for their operations. Hopefully it will be large enough for Ike. It's 10 times bigger than his previous storefront.
"I'm very, very happy to go back," Shehadeh said. "I assume the business will be just the same or better at the new location with the bigger space."
At Thursday's Planning Commission hearing some neighbors spoke out loudly against allowing Ike's Place to move back onto 16th Street. One said it might be a new location but "same nightmare" of crowds, double parking and noise.
"When they were on the corner everyone kind of sat on the sidewalks all the time, taking up parking, it was a little bit of a mess," neighborhood resident Ryan Gilbert said.
Other neighbors spoke in support saying Ike's Place was good for the neighborhood. The Commissioners agreed, noting that Shehadeh was born and raised in San Francisco and is employing dozens of San Francisco residents.
"This is the type of business were looking to see more of in the city," planning commissioner Christina Olague said.
Opponents can appeal to the Board of Supervisors, but with Bevan Dufty supporting Ike's Place, getting the decision reversed would be an uphill battle.
Shehadeh also has shops at Stanford University and in Redwood Shores, with plans to open a location at San Francisco State University in the coming weeks.