Ike’s Love & Sandwiches just brought its messy, cult carbs to Houston for the first time, and the San Francisco-born brand already plans to roll out three more area locations.
The newly opened arrival (1051 Heights Boulevard) is a partnership with former Houston Astros Minor League pitcher Mark Appel, who’s also a Houston native. The fast-casual eatery commands long lines for its hundreds of sandwich combinations, including meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, served between Dutch Crunch bread and slathered with its “Dirty Secret” sauce that hasn’t changed since day one.
Founder Ike Shehadeh, whose iconic bald and caricatured mug is the smiling face of the brand, started slinging sandwiches in 2007 at his inaugural tiny location in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. Now there’s 72 restaurants across five states, with plans to grow to 100 by the end of 2020.
For Houston’s grand opening on Thursday, August 29, the first 50 guests will each be handed one free sandwich. Hours are 10 a.m to 8 p.m. daily.
Houston’s location will also get its very own themed sandwiches: the “Grand Pinkerton” (Pinkerton brisket, pastrami, Pinkerton BBQ aioli and provolone cheese) and a veggie “Robert Woodrow Wilson” (vegan brisket, Pinkerton BBQ glaze and pepper jack cheese). Other nationwide orders are named after celebrity athletes, like the “Madison Bumgarner” after the Giants pitcher, who often have a say in what goes in their eponymous sandwich.
Ike’s Love & Sandwiches first expanded to Texas this summer with two Austin locations, also in partnership with Appel. Stay tuned on the ETA and addresses of the other three Houston sites.