Biz Beat

These enormous sandwiches are coming to Modesto and Turlock to fill your bellies

Popular Bay Area-based sandwich chain Ike’s Love and Sandwiches is coming to the Central Valley later this year with two locations, one in Modesto and one in Turlock.
Popular Bay Area-based sandwich chain Ike’s Love and Sandwiches is coming to the Central Valley later this year with two locations, one in Modesto and one in Turlock. Ike's Love & Sandwiches

In general, I prescribe to the worldview professed by famous fictional TV feminist Liz Lemon which says, “I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.”

And while life, liberty and the pursuit of the perfect sandwich may not seem particularly noble, it sure is tasty. Now, thanks to Bay Area sandwich phenomenon Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, it just got a little easier. The popular sandwich place eponymously named after its owner, Ike Shehadeh, is opening two locations in the Central Valley — one in Modesto and one in Turlock — later this year.

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches (formerly called Ike’s Place until about six years ago) has been expanding across the state and beyond. Still the Modesto and Turlock shops will be the first in the Central Valley and only among a handful currently outside of the Bay Area and Southern California for the independent chain. Both will open in spots that formerly housed Freebirds World Burrito, at Briggmore and McHenry avenues in Modesto and Monte Vista Crossings in Turlock, which closed earlier this spring.

Those unfamiliar with Ike’s and its cult following are in for quite an initiation once the stores open. Famous for their extravagant and loaded sandwiches with fanciful or famous person names, Ike’s has been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Man. v. Food” and the Food Channel’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” The menu features more than 40 sandwiches and hundreds of combinations, most of which are served slathered with their signature Ike’s Dirty Secret Sauce (or Dirty Sauce for short) and served on their fresh-baked Dutch crunch rolls.

You can order a Menage A Trois (halal chicken, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, real honey, Swiss, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses) or a Madison Bumgarner (rib eye steak, American and pepper jack cheeses, habanero pepper, yellow BBQ sauce) or a Dirty Reuben (roast beef, American cheese, purple slaw, Dirty Sauce) or dozens of other. Their vegetarian menu is almost as long as their meat-based menu. And rumor has it there are over 400 secret menu items (including discontinued sandwiches and many other variations).

San Francisco native and Ike’s founder Shehadeh’s bald, soul-patch sporting head has become the face of the business — quite literally as his cartoon face is smiling on the signs. He opened Ike’s Place in the Castro district in 2007. But then it became a victim of its own success as the shop was evicted, thanks in part to long lines that streamed through the neighborhood, and had to move. Now Ike’s has more than 40 locations (soon to be 50) mostly up and down the California coast, with a few in Arizona and one in Reno.

Besides Modesto and Turlock sites, Ike’s will open new shops in Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Vacaville, San Jose, Mountain View and Sunnyvale this year. The Modesto and Turlock restaurants should open as early as mid-August or as late as November. Company representatives said there is no timeline yet on when hiring will begin, but once they start each store is staffed by about 20 employees. People can apply on Indeed, Craigslist, Facebook, Instawork, on the company’s website, or via email to

Once they open be sure to go in hungry because these massive meals are a bit of a gut buster. Per the Ike’s website nutritional information chart, none of the sandwiches are under 1,000 calories. But then what’s the point of sitting in peace and eating a sandwich if you’re not full and happy afterword?

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Marijke Rowland: 209-578-2284, @marijkerowland