Ike’s Love & Sandwiches is a sandwich shop that started in San Francisco’s Castro District in 2007 and made its way all through the Bay area. Now we have them here in Arizona. Ike Shehadeh (whose cartoon face is plastered on every restaurant) opened his first restaurant after being nearly homeless. Ike’s are known for their variety of sandwiches that are named after well-known celebrities. They use a bread popular in the Bay area called Dutch Crunch bread (or Tiger bread). The sandwiches are unique because of “Ike’s Dirty Secret Sauce” – a creamy, garlic aioli that is baked into the bread and smeared onto the sandwiches. So far I have tried the Manage a Trois and the Meatless Mike (Vegan meatballs). The sandwiches are pretty large and the bread is very soft and moist. I have had great experiences both times I visited them. They have many vegetarian options and very order comes with a free caramel-green apple lollipop for dessert.
I finally made my way to Scottsdale to try Hopdoddy Burger Bar. This mini chain started in Texas and now we have 2 locations here in the Valley. The “Hop” part of their name stands for beer (they serve artisan craft beers) and “Doddy” is a Scottish cow. Their beef comes from humanely raised cows that aren’t given any hormones or antibiotics (according to their sign). They bake their own buns in house and cut their own potatoes for the fries. The restaurant itself is spacious and has a nice modern ambience to it. You basically order your food up front and they assign you a number and a table to sit at where someone waits on you. They have variety of special burger combinations to choose from topped with their own blend of “sassy” sauce. I ordered the Goodnight/Good Cause Burger (a dollar is donated to Lone Star Paralysis) – an Angus Beef patty topped with caramelized onions, jalapeños and BBQ sauce. The burger is hot off the grill and really good. They also have great shakes here. Some of their combinations include Caramel & Sea Salt, Red Velvet and Nutella & Chocolate Pretzel. From a price standpoint, they compare with Fives Guys and Shake Shack. I definitely put them above Shake Shack for the better burger at $8. If you come during social hour (3:30pm – 6), they knock $2 off the burger and the fries are $5. My only negatives is that our food came out separately and I really didn’t see the need for servers when you order everything up front. They are basically there to refill your drinks. But overall I give this place a thumbs up and will stop in again another time.